The aim of the present study was to examine residues that are variably spliced in the juvenile and adult isoforms of the skeletal-muscle RyR1 (type 1 ryanodine receptor). The juvenile ASI(-) splice variant is less active than the adult ASI(+) variant and is overexpressed in patients with DM (myotonic dystrophy) [Kimura, Nakamori, Lueck, Pouliquin, Aoike, Fujimura, Dirksen, Takahashi, Dulhunty and Sakoda (2005) Hum. Mol. Genet. 14, 2189-2200]. In the present study, we explore the ASI region using synthetic peptides corresponding to rabbit RyR1 residues Thr3471-Gly3500 either containing [PASI(+)] or lacking [PASI(-)] the ASI residues. Both peptides increased [3H]ryanodine binding to rabbit RyR1s, increased Ca2+ release from sarcoplasmic reti-culum vesicles and increased single RyR1 channel activity. The peptide PASI(-) was more active in each case than PASI(+). [3H]Ryanodine binding to recombinant ASI(+)RyR1 or ASI(-)-RyR1 was enhanced more by PASI(-) than PASI(+), with the greatest increase seen when PASI(-) was added to ASI(-)RyR1. The activation of the RyR channels is consistent with the hypo-thesis that the peptides interrupt an inhibitory inter-domain inter-action and that PASI(-) is more effective at interrupting this interaction than PASI(+). We therefore suggest that the ASI(-) sequence interacts more tightly than the ASI(+) sequence with its binding partner, so that the ASI(-)RyR1 is more strongly inhibited (less active) than the ASI(+)RyR1. Thus the affinity of the binding partners in this inter-domain interaction may deter-mine the activities of the mature and juvenile isoforms of RyR1 and the stronger inhibition in the juvenile isoform may contribute to the myopathy in DM.