Volume 14 (2017) Pages 207-220
We have studied the stiffness of myofilament lattice in sarcomeres in the pre-force generating state, which was realized by a relaxing reagent, BDM (butane dione monoxime). First, the radial stiffness for the overlap regions of sarcomeres of isolated single myofibrils was estimated from the resulting decreases in diameter by osmotic pressure applied with the addition of Dextran. Then, the radial stiffness was also estimated from force-distance curve measurements with AFM technology. The radial stiffness for the overlap regions thus obtained was composed of a soft and a rigid component. The soft component visco-elastically changed in a characteristic fashion depending on the physiological conditions of myofibrils, suggesting that it comes from cross-bridge structures. BDM treatments significantly affected the soft radial component of contracting myofibrils depending on the approach velocity of cantilever: It was nearly equal to that in the contracting state at high approach velocity, whereas as low as that in the relaxing state at low approach velocity. However, comparable BDM treatments greatly suppressed the force production and the axial stiffness in contracting glycerinated muscle fibers and also the sliding velocity of actin filaments in the in vitro motility assay. Considering that BDM shifts the cross-bridge population from force generating to pre-force generating states in contracting muscle, the obtained results strongly suggest that cross-bridges in the pre-force generating state are visco-elastically attached to the thin filaments in such a binding manner that the axial stiffness is low but the radial stiffness significantly high similar to that in force generating state.