Conformationally trapping the actin-binding cleft of myosin with a bifunctional spin label

Rebecca J. Moen, David D. Thomas, Jennifer C. Klein

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We have trapped the catalytic domain of Dictyostelium (Dicty) myosin II in a weak actin-binding conformation by chemically crosslinking two engineered cysteines across the actin-binding cleft, usingabifunctional spin label (BSL).Byconnecting the lower and upper 50 kDa domains of myosin, the crosslink restricts the conformation of the actin-binding cleft. Crosslinking has no effect on the basal ATPase activity of isolated myosin, but it impairs rigor actin binding and actin-activation of myosin ATPase. EPR spectra of BSL provide insight into actomyosin structural dynamics. BSLis highly immobilized within the actin-binding cleft and is thus exquisitely sensitive to the global orientation and rotational motions of the myosin head. Conventional EPR shows that myosin heads bound to oriented actin filaments are highly disordered with respect to the actin filament axis, in contrast to the nearly crystalline order of myosin heads in rigor. This disorder is similar to that of weakly bound heads induced by ATP, but saturation transfer EPR shows that the disorder of crosslinked myosin is at least 100 times slower. Thus this cleft-crosslinked myosin is remarkably similar, in both actin affinity and rotational dynamics, to SH1-SH2 crosslinked BSL-myosin S1. We conclude that, whether myosin is trapped at the actin-myosin interface or in the forcegenerating region between the active site and lever arm, the structural state of myosin is intermediate between the weakbinding state preceding phosphate release and the strong-binding state that succeeds it. We propose that it represents the threshold of force generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3016-3024
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013


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