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Cell Biol Int. 2000;24(6):327-33.

Packing of myosin molecules in muscle thick filaments.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics, Shevchenko Kiev University, Ukraine.


The backbone of the myosin filament is an aggregate of alpha-helical coiled coil myosin rods. Its surface forms a three-stranded helix composed of myosin heads. Currently there is no adequate model to describe the organization of the myosin filament. It is proposed here that, in cross-section the light meromyosin (LMM) of 18 myosin molecules form an outer tube, with nine S2 forming the interior core. At the surface of the thick filament, myosin heads are arranged in three rows, giving the filament a periodicity of 14.3 nm per three myosin molecules. Two of these molecules are organized at an angle of 120 degrees to each other on the same level, while the third is shifted 7.2 nm along the filament axis. This packing gives a striation pattern of 7.2 nm by electron microscopy. An alternative model is also possible, in which the heads of the myosin molecules are uniformly spaced at an interval of 14.3 nm along the filament axis. The packing of individual molecules within the myosin filament is based on a regular pattern of charge on the 28 amino-acid repeat in the rod domain.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

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