1. The steady-state kinetic behaviour of the ATPase (adenosine triphosphatase) of intact myofibrils was studied in the presence of both high and low concentrations of Ca2+ (0.25 mM and less than 10 nM respectively). 2. Kinetic data were collected over the initial linear phase of the assay, which lasts for 20–60s. To obtain consistent data we found it necessary to use either fresh myofibril preparations or preparations that had been stored in the presence of thiol compounds. 3. When assayed in the presence of 0.25 mM-Ca2+, the myofibrillar ATPase obeyed Michaelis-Menten kinetics over the range 0.03–5.0 mM-MgATP (Km 16 +/- 6 micrometer, V 0.4 +/- 0.1 mumol/min per mg). 4. At low Ca2+ concentrations (less than 10 nM) the myofibrillar ATPase displayed pronounced substrate inhibition, which was not observed at high Ca2+ concentrations. Thus increasing the MgATP concentration had the net effect of decreasing the ATPase activity at low Ca2+ relative to that at high Ca2+. This preferential effect of MgATP on the low-Ca2+ ATPase may be important in Ca2+ control. 5. The substrate inhibition that was observed at low Ca2+ was lost on storage or thiol modification of the myofibrils. 6. Under physiological conditions (2 mM-MgATP, I 0.15, pH 7.0), the ATPase of fresh and thiol-protected myofibrils displayed approx. 100-fold activation by Ca2+.

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