Atomic model of the human cardiac muscle myosin filament

Hind A. Al-Khayat, Robert W. Kensler, John M. Squire, Steven B. Marston, Edward P. Morris

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    Of all the myosin filaments in muscle, the most important in terms of human health, and so far the least studied, are those in the human heart. Here we report a 3D single-particle analysis of electron micrograph images of negatively stained myosin filaments isolated from human cardiac muscle in the normal (undiseased) relaxed state. The resulting 28-Å resolution 3D reconstruction shows axial and azimuthal (no radial) myosin head perturbations within the 429-Å axial repeat, with rotations between successive 132 Å-, 148 Å-, and 149 Å-spaced crowns of heads close to 60° , 35° , and 25° (all would be 40° in an unperturbed three-stranded helix). We have defined the myosin head atomic arrangements within the three crown levels and have modeled the organization of myosin subfragment 2 and the possible locations of the 39 Å-spaced domains of titin and the cardiac isoform of myosin-binding protein-C on the surface of the myosin filament backbone. Best fits were obtained with head conformations on all crowns close to the structure of the two-headed myosin molecule of vertebrate chicken smooth muscle in the dephosphorylated relaxed state. Individual crowns show differences in head-pair tilts and subfragment 2 orientations, which, together with the observed perturbations, result in different intercrown head interactions, including one not reported before. Analysis of the interactions between the myosin heads, the cardiac isoform of myosin-binding protein-C, and titin will aid in understanding of the structural effects of mutations in these proteins known to be associated with human cardiomyopathies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)318-323
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2013



    • Electron microscopy
    • Human heart muscle
    • Image processing
    • Thick filaments 3D structure

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General

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