Changes in the Ca2+-activation characteristics of demembranated rat single muscle fibres after prolonged incubation at room temperature in the presence and absence of DTT and protease inhibitors
Prolonged incubation (24 h) of chemically skinned rat muscle preparations in rigor solutions at room temperature and in the absence of reducing agents and protease inhibitors modified the Ca2+-activation characteristics of the contractile machinery. In the absence of reducing agents and protease inhibitors, the contraction threshold for incubated fibres was shifted to lower Ca2+ concentrations and the steepness of the steady-state force-pCa (-log10)[Ca2+]) curve was decreased compared to that of control muscle fibres. Mean myosin ATPase activity under these conditions was significantly lowered by a factor of 2.7. Fibres incubated in the presence of 10 mM dithiothreitol (DTT) and protease inhibitors (100 microM pepstatin A/200 microM leupeptin) produced a maximum Ca2+-activated force per cross-sectional area that compared favourably with that of freshly dissected muscle fibres and there were no changes in the other contractile activation characteristics. Intermediate responses were obtained when fibres were incubated in the presence of either DTT or protease inhibitors. MgATPase activities of incubated preparations increased significantly following the addition of protease inhibitors and/or DTT to the incubation medium. Taken together, these results suggest that in the presence of DTT and protease inhibitors, most contractile properties are maintained at levels seen in fresh mechanically skinned fibres. The extended viability of this preparation and its closely related properties with fresh muscle fibres make it a useful model for experiments requiring longer term incubations with biological agents.