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Biochemistry. 2003 Jan 21;42(2):390-401.

Temperature and ligand dependence of conformation and helical order in myosin filaments.

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Laboratory of Muscle Biology, National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

Erratum in

  • Biochemistry. 2003 Mar 4;42(8):2492.


Mammalian myosin filaments are helically ordered only at higher temperatures (>20 degrees C) and become progressively more disordered as the temperature is decreased. It had previously been suggested that this was a consequence of the dependence of the hydrolytic step of myosin ATPase on temperature and the requirement that hydrolysis products (e.g., ADP.P(i)) be bound at the active site. An alternative hypothesis is that temperature directly affects the conformation of the myosin heads and that they need to be in a particular conformation for helical order in the filament. To discriminate between these two hypotheses, we have studied the effect of temperature on the helical order of myosin heads in rabbit psoas muscle in the presence of nonhydrolyzable ligands. The muscle fibers were overstretched to nonoverlap such that myosin affinity for nucleotides was not influenced by the interaction of myosin with the thin filament. We show that with bound ADP.vanadate, which mimics the transition state between ATP and hydrolysis products, or with the ATP analogues AMP-PNP or ADP.BeF(x)() the myosin filaments are substantially ordered at higher temperatures but are reversibly disordered by cooling. These results reinforce recent studies in solution showing that temperature as well as ligand influence the equilibrium between multiple myosin conformations [Málnási-Csizmadia, A., Pearson, D. S., Kovács, M., Woolley, R. J., Geeves, M. A., and Bagshaw, C. R. (2001) Biochemistry 40, 12727-12737; Málnási-Csizmadia, A., Woolley, R. J., and Bagshaw, C. R. (2000) Biochemistry 39, 16135-16146; Urbanke, C., and Wray, J. (2001) Biochem. J. 358, 165-173] and indicate that helical order requires the myosin heads to be in the closed conformation. Our results suggest that most of the heads in the closed conformation are ordered, and that order is not produced in a separate step. Hence, helical order can be used as a signature of the closed conformation in relaxed muscle. Analysis of the dependence on temperature of helical order and myosin conformation shows that in the presence of these analogues one ordered (closed) conformation and two disordered conformations with distinct thermodynamic properties coexist. Low temperatures favor one disordered conformation, while high temperatures favor the ordered (closed) conformation together with a second disordered conformation.

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