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J Struct Biol. 2005 Mar;149(3):313-24.

The mammalian cardiac muscle thick filament: backbone contributions to meridional reflections.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Puerto Rico Medical School, Medical Sciences Campus, P.O. Box 365067, San Juan, PR 00936-5067, USA.


Information about the structure of the vertebrate striated muscle thick filament backbone is important for understanding the arrangement of both the rod portion of the myosin molecule and the accessory proteins associated with the backbone region of the filament. Although models of the backbone have been proposed, direct data on the structure of the backbone is limited. In this study, we provide evidence that electron micrographs of isolated negatively stained cardiac thick filaments contain significant information about the filament backbone. Computed Fourier transforms from isolated cardiac thick filaments show meridional (or near meridional) reflections on the 10th and 11th layer lines that are particularly strong. Comparison of Fourier filtrations of the filaments that exclude, or include, these reflections, provide evidence that these reflections originate at least in part from a series of striations on the backbone at a approximately 4 nm spacing. The striations are likely to result either from the packing of the myosin rods, or from proteins such as titin associated with the filament backbone.

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