The Closed State of the Thin Filament Is Not Occupied in Fully Activated Skeletal Muscle.


Muscle contraction is powered by actin-myosin interaction controlled by Ca2+ via the regulatory proteins troponin (Tn) and tropomyosin (Tpm), which are associated with actin filaments. Tpm forms coiled-coil dimers, which assemble into a helical strand that runs along the whole ∼1 μm length of a thin filament. In the absence of Ca2+, Tn that is tightly bound to Tpm binds actin and holds the Tpm strand in the blocked, or B, state, where Tpm shields actin from the binding of myosin heads. Ca2+ binding to Tn releases the Tpm from actin so that it moves azimuthally around the filament axis to a closed, or C, state, where actin is partially available for weak binding of myosin heads. Upon transition of the weak actin-myosin bond into a strong, stereo-specific complex, the myosin heads push Tpm strand to the open, or O, state allowing myosin binding sites on several neighboring actin monomers to become open for myosin binding. We used low-angle x-ray diffraction at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility to check whether the O- to C-state transition in fully activated fibers of fast skeletal muscle of the rabbit occurs during transition from isometric contraction to shortening under low load. No decrease in the intensity of the second actin layer line at reciprocal radii in the range of 0.15-0.275 nm-1 was observed during shortening suggesting that an azimuthal Tpm movement from the O- to C-state does not occur, although during shortening muscle stiffness is reduced compared to the isometric state, and the intensities of other actin layer lines demonstrate a ∼2-fold decrease in the fraction of myosin heads strongly bound to actin. The data show that a small fraction of actin-bound myosin heads is sufficient for supporting the O-state and, therefore the C-state is not occupied in fully activated skeletal muscle that produces mechanical work at low load.

DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.02.017

Cite this paper

@article{Bershitsky2017TheCS, title={The Closed State of the Thin Filament Is Not Occupied in Fully Activated Skeletal Muscle.}, author={Sergey Y. Bershitsky and Natalia A Koubassova and Michael A Ferenczi and Galina V. Kopylova and Theyencheri Narayanan and Andrey K. Tsaturyan}, journal={Biophysical journal}, year={2017}, volume={112 7}, pages={1455-1461} }