The apparent Mg2+-activated ATPase activity measured by the continuous NADH-coupled enzyme assay was studied in a number of microsomal preparations obtained from smooth muscle of the myometrium from pregnant or 17 beta-oestradiol-pretreated rats, the bovine aorta, the guinea-pig taenia coli, the rabbit ear artery and pig antrum. It was shown that this ATPase assay is prone to the effects of a number of artefacts that are tissue-dependent. The apparent Mg2+-ATPase activity in microsomes (microsomal fractions) from myometrium, aorta and taenia coli declines non-linearly during the assay. Its initial high rate gradually diminishes over 15-60 min, depending on the type of smooth muscle, to a constant value. This decline depends on the presence of ATP and can be partially prevented by concanavalin A. The non-linearity is limited in microsomes from rabbit ear artery. In microsomes from antrum the apparent Mg2+-ATPase activity actually increases with time, albeit gradually. Storage on ice of the microsomes of the aorta, and especially of myometrium of pregnant rats and of taenia coli, is accompanied over a few hours after their preparation by a gradual suppression of the component of the Mg2+-ATPase activity that is inhibited by ATP. The Mg2+-ATPase activity in microsomes from antrum remains constant. NADH oxidase activity accounts for 10% of the Mg2+-ATPase activity in microsomes from stomach smooth muscle. The apparent initial non-linearity of the Mg2+-ATPase activity in that tissue is due to a time-dependent decrease of a rotenone-sensitive NADH oxidase activity. The adenylate kinase activity, as deduced from the effect of the adenylate kinase inhibitor P1,P5-di(adenosine-5′) pentaphosphate, could account for 45.0, 35.0 and 31.0% respectively of the Mg2+-ATPase activity in microsomes from stomach, myometrium and aorta. No adenylate kinase activity could be detected in microsomes from ear artery and taenia coli. When microsomes from stomach smooth muscle were separated on a sucrose gradient, the contribution of adenylate kinase and NADH oxidase to the Mg2+-ATPase activity was most pronounced in the higher-density fractions. Part of the NADH oxidase activity and of the Mg2+-ATPase activity, and most of the adenylate kinase activity, are not sedimented at 224000 gmax. for 30 min and may therefore be present as soluble enzymes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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