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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2011 Dec;22(9):961-7. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.09.015. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Shaking the myosin family tree: biochemical kinetics defines four types of myosin motor.

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  • 1School of Biosciences, University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7NJ, UK.


Although all myosin motors follow the same basic cross-bridge cycle, they display a large variety in the rates of transition between different states in the cycle, allowing each myosin to be finely tuned for a specific task. Traditionally, myosins have been classified by sequence analysis into a large number of sub-families (∼35). Here we use a different method to classify the myosin family members which is based on biochemical and mechanical properties. The key properties that define the type of mechanical activity of the motor are duty ratio (defined as the fraction of the time myosin remains attached to actin during each cycle), thermodynamic coupling of actin and nucleotide binding to myosin and the degree of strain-sensitivity of the ADP release step. Based on these properties we propose to classify myosins into four different groups: (I) fast movers, (II) slow/efficient force holders, (III) strain sensors and (IV) gates.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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