To determine cross-bridge properties during agonist-stimulated contractions, steady-state force and relative steady-state stiffness were recorded at rest (pCa 9) and during both full (pCa 4) and partial (pCa 7) Ca2+ activations of isolated single α-toxin permeabilized vascular smooth muscle cells. For pCa 4 and pCa 7, agonist (1 μM histamine) activation resulted in significant (P < 0.05) increases in both force and stiffness. The agonist-induced increase of steady-state force was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than that of stiffness; at pCa 4, there was a 48% increase for force vs. 17% for stiffness, and, at pCa 7, there was a 160% increase for force vs. 57% for stiffness. The increase in force and stiffness after agonist prestimulation implies that the number of attached cross bridges has increased. However, after agonist prestimulation, we found that the increase of force was greater (P < 0.05) than that of stiffness, resulting in a greater force at any given level of stiffness. Thus these data indicate that agonist activation, presumably via activation of a G protein, increases the relative force per attached cross bridge, possibly by modulating the kinetics of the actomyosin adenosinetriphosphatase to increase in the relative population of cross bridges in force-producing states [actinomyosin (AM) or AM·ADP].
- excitation-contraction coupling
- muscle mechanics
- α-toxin permeabilization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology