In the present study, we investigated the possibility that MHC (myosin heavy chain) and TnC (troponin C) isoforms exist in specific combinations in rat-skeletal-muscle fibres. Single fibres (numbering 245) from soleus (predominantly slow-twitch) and sternomastoid (predominantly fast-twitch) muscles of adult rats were analysed for MHC and TnC isoform composition, using alanine-SDS/PAGE for separating MHC isoforms, and a novel method (based on the previously reported influence of Ca2+ on the mobility of Ca2+-binding proteins in SDS gels) for unequivocal identification of TnC isoforms in single-fibre segments. In this study, all fibres that contained only one MHC isoform (slow or fast) contained only the matching TnC isoform and all fibres that contained multiple fast MHC isoforms contained only the fast TnC isoform. Fibres expressing both slow and fast MHC isoforms displayed either both TnC isoforms or only one TnC isoform of a type depending on the relative proportion of fast/slow MHC present. Our results suggest a close relationship between MHC and TnC isoform composition in non-transforming skeletal muscles of adult rat.

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