Force-generating capacity and contractile protein content of arterial smooth muscle

R. A. Murphy, Jeremiah T. Herlihy, J. Megerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


After correction for extracellular space (40%) determined from electron micrographs, the maximum isometric force developed by strips prepared from the media of the hog carotid artery (2.2 × 106 dyn/cm2) can be extrapolated to give a value of 3.7 × 106 dyn/cm2 for the smooth muscle component of the strip. Three independent estimates of the myosin content of the smooth muscle cells were made based on (a) exhaustive extraction and purification with estimates of preparative losses, (b) the myosin catalyzed ATPase activity of media homogenates, and (c) quantitative densitometry of the peaks containing myosin, actin, and tropomyosin after disk electrophoresis of sodium dodecyl sulfate-treated media homogenates. The results were consistent and gave a myosin content of 5-10 mg/g media, or 8-17 mg/g cell. Method (c) gave myosin: actin: tropomyosin weight ratios of 1: 3.2: 0.8. Although measured force developed by the smooth muscle cell exceeds that of mammalian striated muscle, the myosin content in smooth muscle is about five times lower. The actin content of smooth muscle is relatively high. The actin and myosin contents are consistent with thick and thin filament ratios observed in electron micrographs of vascular smooth muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-705
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1974
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Force-generating capacity and contractile protein content of arterial smooth muscle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this