MgATP binding to the actomyosin complex is followed by the dissociation of actin and myosin. The rate of this dissociation process was determined from the relationship between the maximum velocity of shortening and the MgATP concentration. It is shown here that the overall dissociation rate is rather similar in different types of muscle fibers. The relation between MgATP concentration and the maximum shortening velocity was investigated in fast and slow fibers and bundles of myofibrils of the iliofibularis muscle of Xenopus laevis at 4 degrees C from which the sarcolemma was either removed mechanically or made permeable by means of a detergent. A small segment of each fiber was used for a histochemical determination of fiber type. At 5 mM MgATP, the fast fibers had a maximum shortening velocity (Vmax) of 1.74 +/- 0.12 Lo/s (mean +/- SEM) (Lo: segment length at a sarcomere length of 2.2 microns). For the slow fibers Vmax was 0.41 +/- 0.15 Lo/s. In both cases, the relationship between Vmax and the ATP concentration followed the hyperbolic Michaelis-Menten relation. A Km of 0.56 +/- 0.06 mM (mean +/- SD) was found for the fast fibers and of 0.16 +/- 0.03 mM for the slow fibers. Assuming that Vmax is mainly determined by the crossbridge detachment rate, the apparent second order dissociation rate for the actomyosin complex in vivo would be 3.8.10(5) M-1s-1 for the fast fibers and 2.9.10(5) M-1 s-1 for the slow fibers. Maximum power output as a function of the MgATP concentration was derived from the force-velocity relationships. At 5 mM MgATP, the maximum power output in fast fibers was (73 +/- 8) mW.g-1 dry weight and (15 +/- 5) mW.g-1 in slow fibers. The Km for MgATP for the maximum power output for the fast fibers was (0.15 +/- 0.03) mM, which is about a factor of 4 lower than the Km for Vmax. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of a kinetic scheme for crossbridge action
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