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J Gen Physiol. 2014 Mar;143(3):387-99. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201311078. Epub 2014 Feb 10.

Dynamic coupling of regulated binding sites and cycling myosin heads in striated muscle.

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Department of Physiology and Center for Muscle Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536.


In an activated muscle, binding sites on the thin filament and myosin heads switch frequently between different states. Because the status of the binding sites influences the status of the heads, and vice versa, the binding sites and myosin heads are dynamically coupled. The functional consequences of this coupling were investigated using MyoSim, a new computer model of muscle. MyoSim extends existing models based on Huxley-type distribution techniques by incorporating Ca(2+) activation and cooperative effects. It can also simulate arbitrary cross-bridge schemes set by the researcher. Initial calculations investigated the effects of altering the relative speeds of binding-site and cross-bridge kinetics, and of manipulating cooperative processes. Subsequent tests fitted simulated force records to experimental data recorded using permeabilized myocardial preparations. These calculations suggest that the rate of force development at maximum activation is limited by myosin cycling kinetics, whereas the rate at lower levels of activation is limited by how quickly binding sites become available. Additional tests investigated the behavior of transiently activated cells by driving simulations with experimentally recorded Ca(2+) signals. The unloaded shortening profile of a twitching myocyte could be reproduced using a model with two myosin states, cooperative activation, and strain-dependent kinetics. Collectively, these results demonstrate that dynamic coupling of binding sites and myosin heads is important for contractile function.

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