Titin is a giant protein that spans half of the striated muscle sarcomere. The I-band portion of titin extends as the sarcomere is stretched, developing what is known as passive force. This portion of the molecule is composed mainly of tandem immunoglobulin (Ig) segments, consisting of serially linked Ig-like domains, and a recently discovered unique sequence termed the PEVK segment. The tandem Ig and PEVK segments have been suggested to extend sequentially when sarcomeres are stretched, with PEVK extension dominating at moderate to high degrees of sarcomere stretch (M. Gautel and D. Goulding, 1996, FEBS Lett. 385, 11-14; W. Linke et al., 1996, J. Mol. Biol. 261, 62-71; K. Trombitas et al., 1998). Previously we observed that the anti- titin antibody 9D10 labels a region in the I-band that increases in width as sarcomeres are stretched. Here we tested whether 9D10 labels the PEVK segment. The 9D10-labeled region of human soleus fibers was followed by immunoelectron microscopy as sarcomeres were stretched. It was found that 9D10 labeled a region in the I-band that was ~100 nm wide at a sarcomere length of 2.4 μm and μ550 nm wide at a sarcomere length of 4.0 μm. Results were compared with those obtained with sequence-specific antibodies that were used to mark the boundaries of the PEVK segment. Findings indicate that 9D10 labels the PEVK segment from close to its N-terminal end to its C-terminal end. Consistent with this conclusion are the results on cardiac myocytes that express a much shorter PEVK segment than skeletal muscle and where 9D10 labels a region that is much less wide than in skeletal muscle. The anti- titin antibody 9D10 is a useful tool for investigating the extensible behavior of the PEVK segment in both skeletal and cardiac muscles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology