Donnan potentials from striated muscle liquid crystals. Lattice spacing dependence

R. A. Aldoroty, N. B. Garty, E. W. April

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11 Scopus citations


Electrochemical potentials were measured as a function of myofilament packing density in crayfish striated muscle. The A-band striations are supramolecular smectic B1 lattice assemblies of myosin filaments and the I-band striations are nematic liquid crystals of actin filaments. Both A- and I-bands generate potentials derived from the fixed charge that is associated with structural proteins. In the reported experiments, filament packing density was varied by osmotically reducing lattice volume. The electrochemical potentials were measured from the A- and I-bands in the relaxed condition over a range of lattice volumes. From the measurements of relative cross-sectional area, unit-cell volume (obtained by low-angle x-ray diffraction) and previously determined effective linear charge densities (Aldoroty, R.A., N.B. Garty, and E.W. April, 1985, Biophys. J., 47:89–96), Donnan potentials can be predicted for any amount of compression. In the relaxed condition, the predicted Donnan potentials correspond to the measured electrochemical potentials. In the rigor condition, however, a net increase in negative charge associated with the myosin filament is observed. The predictability of the data demonstrates the applicability of Donnan equilibrium theory to the measurement of electrochemical potentials from liquid-crystalline systems. Moreover, the relationship between filament spacing and the Donnan potential is consistent with the concept that surface charge provides the necessary electrostatic force to stabilize the myofilament lattice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-381
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987


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