To determine the neural influence on the function of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of fast-twitch skeletal muscle, the superior pectoralis muscle of adult chicken was denervated, and the SR was isolated at 20 days post-denervation. The isolated SR was probably derived from the longitudinal SR and was relatively free of contaminants. The protein profile of the SR was quantitatively changed after denervation with an increase in the M55 and 30000-mol.wt. proteins relative to the Ca2+-ATPase. Ca2+-dependent ATPase activity and phosphoenzyme formation were lower in the denervated-muscle SR; however, the enzyme catalytic-centre activity was similar to the control value. The decrease in Ca2+-ATPase activity in denervated-muscle SR was accompanied by a lower Ca2+ accumulation so that the relationship between Ca2+ accumulation and Ca2+-dependent ATPase activity was well maintained in the SR from denervated muscle. The data imply that denervation may result in a diminution of functional Ca2+ pump sites. Evidence is presented, though, which suggests that denervation affects a single class of Ca2+-binding sites of the Ca2+-ATPase, resulting in a lower affinity for Ca2+.

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