The dissociation of the regulatory light chains from scallop myosin subfragments, on addition of EDTA, was investigated by using the fluorophore 8-anilinonaphthalene-1-sulphonate as a probe. The rate of this process (0.014 s-1) was partially limited by the rate of Mg2+ dissociation (0.058 s-1) from the non-specific high-affinity site. The dissociation of the regulatory light chain subfragment 1 was less extensive than from heavy meromyosin. Reassociation of the scallop regulatory light chain was induced on addition of Mg2+, but it appeared to be limited by a first-order step. The nature of this step was revealed by the kinetics of Mercenaria regulatory light chain association. Scallop heavy meromyosin, denuded of its regulatory light chains, exists in a refractory state, whose reversal to the nascent state limits the rate of light chain association (0.006 s-1). The formation of the refractory state is the driving force for the net dissociation of regulatory light chains from scallop heavy meromyosin. This mechanism is discussed with reference to existing structural information on light-chain-denuded myosin.

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