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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Nov;70(22):4275-92. doi: 10.1007/s00018-013-1353-x. Epub 2013 May 18.

Stiffness, working stroke, and force of single-myosin molecules in skeletal muscle: elucidation of these mechanical properties via nonlinear elasticity evaluation.

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Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan,


In muscles, the arrays of skeletal myosin molecules interact with actin filaments and continuously generate force at various contraction speeds. Therefore, it is crucial for myosin molecules to generate force collectively and minimize the interference between individual myosin molecules. Knowledge of the elasticity of myosin molecules is crucial for understanding the molecular mechanisms of muscle contractions because elasticity directly affects the working and drag (resistance) force generation when myosin molecules are positively or negatively strained. The working stroke distance is also an important mechanical property necessary for elucidation of the thermodynamic efficiency of muscle contractions at the molecular level. In this review, we focus on these mechanical properties obtained from single-fiber and single-molecule studies and discuss recent findings associated with these mechanical properties. We also discuss the potential molecular mechanisms associated with reduction of the drag effect caused by negatively strained myosin molecules.

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