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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 1989 Feb;10(1):10-24.

Functional sequences of the myosin head.

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  • 1Centre de Recherches de Biochimie MacromolĂ©culaire, CNRS-INSERM, UniversitĂ© de Montpellier I, France.


Muscle contraction originates from the sliding of myosin filaments on actin filaments, the energy for which is supplied by the hydrolysis of adenosine-5-triphosphate (ATP) by myosin. The nucleotide first binds to the acto-myosin complex in the myosin head (or subfragment-1), producing a conformational change which induces actin dissociation. The release of phosphate (Pi) then allows a return to the strong actin-myosin association, corresponding to the rigor state. We discuss here certain controversial points arising from current concepts of the actin and nucleotide binding regions at the amino acid sequence level within the subfragment-1 heavy chain. We consider the actin and nucleotide binding regions to be two distinct sites (for each of these regions) one of which is shared competitively between actin and the nucleotide. In our model the cyclical actin-S1 association-dissociation steps correspond to different ATP, actin and ADP affinities for the same amino acid sequence of the S1 heavy chain, contributing alternatively to a single hydrolytic nucleotide site or a strong actin site. We propose the existence of a flexible segment that forms or dismantles the nucleotide or actin sites. The large region (amino acids 540-707) overlapping the actin-myosin interface appears to be the main flexible region of the S1 molecule and we propose that this particular sequence plays a key role in the dissociation pathway of the actin-myosin complex and in the conversion of chemical energy into the mechanical energy of contraction.

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