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EMBO J. May 1992; 11(5): 1711–1716.
PMCID: PMC556628

Towards a molecular understanding of titin.


Titin is at present the largest known protein (M(r) 3000 kDa) and its expression is restricted to vertebrate striated muscle. Single molecules span from M- to Z-lines and therefore over 1 micron. We have isolated cDNAs encoding five distant titin A-band epitopes, extended their sequences and determined 30 kb (1000 kDa) of the primary structure of titin. Sequences near the M-line encode a kinase domain and are closely related to the C-terminus of twitchin from Caenorhabditis elegans. This suggests that the function of this region in the titin/twitchin family is conserved throughout the animal kingdom. All other A-band sequences consist of 100 amino acid (aa) repeats predicting immunoglobulin-C2 and fibronectin type III globular domains. These domains are arranged into highly ordered 11 domain super-repeat patterns likely to match the myosin helix repeat in the thick filament. Expressed titin fragments bind to the LMM part of myosin and C-protein. Binding strength increases with the number of domains involved, indicating a cumulative effect of multiple binding sites for myosin along the titin molecule. We conclude that A-band titin is likely to be involved in the ordered assembly of the vertebrate thick filament.

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Selected References

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