Myosin flares and actin leptomeres as myofibril assembly/disassembly intermediates in sonic muscle fibers

Patrick C. Nahirney, Donald A. Fischman, Kuan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The sonic muscle of type 1 male midshipman fish produces loud and enduring mating calls. Each sonic muscle fiber contains a tubular contractile apparatus with radially arranged myofibrillar plates encased in a desminrich cytoskeleton that is anchored to broad Z bands (∼1.2 μm wide). Immunomicroscopy has revealed patches of myosin-rich "flares" emanating from the contractile tubes into the peripheral sarcoplasm along the length of the fibers. These flares contain swirls of thick filaments devoid of associated thin filaments. In other regions of the sarcoplasm at the inner surface of the sarcolemma and near Z bands, abundant ladder-like leptomeres occur with rungs every 160 nm. Leptomeres consist of dense arrays of filaments (∼4 nm) with a structure that resembles myofibrillar Z band structure. We propose that flares and leptomeres are distinct filamentous arrays representing site-specific processing of myofibrillar components during the assembly and disassembly of the sarcomere. Recent reports that myosin assembles into filamentous aggregates before incorporating into the A band in the skeletal muscles of vertebrates and Caenorhabditis elegans suggest that sonic fibers utilize a similar pathway. Thus, sonic muscle fibers, with their tubular design and abundant sarcoplasmic space, may provide an attractive muscle model to identify myofibrillar intermediates by structural and molecular techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin
  • Midshipman fish
  • Myofibrillar intermediates
  • Myosin
  • Porichthys notatus (Teleostei)
  • Sonic muscle fiber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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