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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 23;279(4):2333-6. Epub 2003 Nov 22.

Regulated conformation of myosin V.

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Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology, NHLBI, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


We have found that myosin V, an important actin-based vesicle transporter, has a folded conformation that is coupled to inhibition of its enzymatic activity in the absence of cargo and Ca(2+). In the absence of Ca(2+) where the actin-activated MgATPase activity is low, purified brain myosin V sediments in the analytical ultracentrifuge at 14 S as opposed to 11 S in the presence of Ca(2+) where the activity is high. At high ionic strength it sediments at 10 S independent of Ca(2+), and its regulation is poor. These data are consistent with myosin V having a compact, inactive conformation in the absence of Ca(2+) and an extended conformation in the presence of Ca(2+) or high ionic strength. Electron microscopy reveals that in the absence of Ca(2+) the heads and tail are both folded to give a triangular shape, very different from the extended appearance of myosin V at high ionic strength. A recombinant myosin V heavy meromyosin fragment that is missing the distal portion of the tail domain is not regulated by calcium and has only a small change in sedimentation coefficient, which is in the opposite direction to that seen with intact myosin V. Electron microscopy shows that its heads are extended even in the absence of calcium. These data suggest that interaction between the motor and cargo binding domains may be a general mechanism for shutting down motor protein activity and thereby regulating the active movement of vesicles in cells.

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