Immunocytochemical localization of caldesmon and calponin in chicken gizzard smooth muscle

Research paper by Katsuhide Mabuchi, Yanhua Li, Terence Tao, C.-L. Albert Wang

Indexed on: 01 Apr '96Published on: 01 Apr '96Published in: Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility


The distribution of caldesmon and calponin in chicken gizzard smooth muscle was investigated with immunofluorescence and immunogold electron microscopy. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed that in verapamil treated (relaxed) muscles the distributions of caldesmon and myosin appeared to be uniform throughout the cytoplasm, but clearly more textured than that of actin filaments as revealed by the distribution of tropomyosin. In shortened muscles both caldesmon and myosin became segregated, in contrast to the distribution of actin, which remained uniform. The distribution of calponin was even more textured, with no similarity to those of caldesmon or myosin. Instead, considerable overlap was observed between calponin and the cytoskeletal protein desmin and, to a lesser extent, β-actin. By immunogold electron microscopy caldesmon appeared mostly near and around myosin filaments in both relaxed and shortened muscle. Calponin, on the other hand, was found primarily at the periphery of cytoskeletal structures in the same general region as desmin, and very often adjacent to β-actin, which is mainly in the core. These observations indicated that caldesmon and calponin are associated with different subsets of actin filaments, caldesmon with contractile actin, while calponin with cytoskeletal actin. Thus the in situ localization of caldesmon is consistent with its proposed regulatory function. Calponin, on the other hand, is unlikely to directly regulate actomyosin interactions in these cells; instead, it may function as a bridging protein between the actin and the intermediate filament networks.