The ADP release step of the smooth muscle cross-bridge cycle is not directly associated with force generation

Document Type


Publication Date



When smooth muscle myosin subfragment 1 (S1) is bound to actin filaments in vitro, the light chain domain tilts upon release of MgADP, producing a ~3.5-nm axial motion of the head-rod junction (Whittaker et al., 1995. Nature. 378:748-751). If this motion contributes significantly to the power stroke, rigor tension of smooth muscle should decrease substantially in response to cross-bridge binding of MgADP. To test this prediction, we monitored mechanical properties of permeabilized strips of chicken gizzard muscle in rigor and in the presence of MgADP. For comparison, we also tested psoas and soleus muscle fibers. Any residual bound ADP was minimized by incubation in Mg2+-free rigor solution containing 15 mM EDTA. The addition of 2 mM MgADP, while keeping ionic strength and free Mg2+ concentration constant, resulted in a slight increase in rigor tension in both gizzard and soleus muscles, but a decrease in psoas muscle. In-phase stiffness monitored during small (<0.1%) 500-Hz sinusoidal length oscillations decreased in all three muscle types when MgADP was added. The changes in force and stiffness with the addition of MgADP were similar at ionic strengths from 50 to 200 mM and were reversible. The results with gizzard muscle were similar after thiophosphorylation of the regulatory light chain of myosin. These results suggest that the axial motion of smooth muscle S1 bound to actin, upon dissociation of MgADP, is not associated with force generation. The difference between the present mechanical data and previous structural studies of smooth S1 may be explained if geometrical constraints of the intact contractile filament array alter the motions of the myosin heads.

Publication Title

Biophysical journal





First Page


Last Page



This article was published in Biophysical journal, Volume 77, Issue 1, Pages 386-397.

The published version is available at .

Copyright © 1999 Elsevier.

This document is currently not available here.