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J Mol Biol. 2005 Jan 28;345(4):837-54.

The requirement for mechanical coupling between head and S2 domains in smooth muscle myosin ATPase regulation and its implications for dimeric motor function.

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Department of Molecular Biology, TPC6, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


A combination of experimental structural data, homology modelling and elastic network normal mode analysis is used to explore how coupled motions between the two myosin heads and the dimerization domain (S2) in smooth muscle myosin II determine the domain movements required to achieve the inhibited state of this ATP-dependent molecular motor. These physical models rationalize the empirical requirement for at least two heptads of non-coiled alpha-helix at the junction between the myosin heads and S2, and the dependence of regulation on S2 length. The results correlate well with biochemical data regarding altered conformational-dependent solubility and stability. Structural models of the conformational transition between putative active states and the inhibited state show that torsional flexibility of the S2 alpha-helices is a key mechanical requirement for myosin II regulation. These torsional motions of the myosin heads about their coiled coil alpha-helices affect the S2 domain structure, which reciprocally affects the motions of the myosin heads. This inter-relationship may explain a large body of data on function of molecular motors that form dimers through a coiled-coil domain.

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