Myosin was isolated from 14 different muscles (mammals, lower vertebrates, and invertebrates) of known maximal speed of shortening. These myosin preparations were homogeneous in the analytical ultracentrifuge or, in a few cases, showed, in addition to the main myosin peak, part of the myosin in aggregated form. Actin- and Ca++-activated ATPase activities of the myosins were generally proportional to the speed of shortening of their respective muscles; i.e. the greater the intrinsic speed, the higher the ATPase activity. This relation was found when the speed of shortening ranged from 0.1 to 24 muscle lengths/sec. The temperature coefficient of the Ca++-activated myosin ATPase was the same as that of the speed of shortening, Q10 about 2. Higher Q10 values were found for the actin-activated myosin ATPase, especially below 10°C. By using myofibrils instead of reconstituted actomyosin, Q10 values close to 2 could be obtained for the Mg++-activated myofibrillar ATPase at ionic strength of 0.014. In another series of experiments, myosin was isolated from 11 different muscles of known isometric twitch contraction time. The ATPase activity of these myosins was inversely proportional to the contraction time of the muscles. These results suggest a role for the ATPase activity of myosin in determining the speed of muscle contraction. In contrast to the ATPase activity of myosin, which varied according to the speed of contraction, the F-actin-binding ability of myosin from various muscles was rather constant.

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