Adult rat fast-twitch skeletal muscle such as extensor digitorum longus contains alpha- and beta-tropomyosin subunits, as is the case in the corresponding muscles of rabbit. Adult rat soleus muscle contains beta-, gamma- and delta-tropomyosins, but no significant amounts of alpha-tropomyosin. Evidence for the presence of phosphorylated forms of at least three of the four tropomyosin subunit isoforms was obtained, particularly in developing muscle. Immediately after birth alpha- and beta-tropomyosins were the major components of skeletal muscle, in both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles. Differentiation into slow-twitch skeletal muscles was accompanied by a fall in the amount of alpha-tropomyosin subunit and its replacement with gamma- and delta-subunits. After denervation and during regeneration after injury, the tropomyosin composition of slow-twitch skeletal muscle changed to that associated with fast-twitch muscle. Thyroidectomy slowed down the changes in tropomyosin composition resulting from the denervation of soleus muscle. The results suggest that the ‘ground state’ of tropomyosin-gene expression in the skeletal muscle gives rise to alpha- and beta-tropomyosin subunits. Innervation by a ‘slow-twitch’ nerve is essential for the expression of the genes controlling gamma- and delta-subunits. There appears to be reciprocal relationship between expression of the gene controlling the synthesis of alpha-tropomyosin and those controlling the synthesis of gamma- and delta-tropomyosin subunits.
- © 1985 London: The Biochemical Society