Insights into human β-cardiac myosin function from single molecule and single cell studies

Sivaraj Sivaramakrishnan, Euan Ashley, Leslie Leinwand, James A. Spudich

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


β-Cardiac myosin is a mechanoenzyme that converts the energy from ATP hydrolysis into a mechanical force that drives contractility in muscle. Thirty percent of the point mutations that result in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are localized to MYH7, the gene encoding human β-cardiac myosin heavy chain (β-MyHC). Force generation by myosins requires a tight and highly conserved allosteric coupling between its different protein domains. Hence, the effects of single point mutations on the force generation and kinetics of β-cardiac myosin molecules cannot be predicted directly from their location within the protein structure. Great insight would be gained from understanding the link between the functional defect in the myosin protein and the clinical phenotypes of patients expressing them. Over the last decade, several single molecule techniques have been developed to understand in detail the chemomechanical cycle of different myosins. In this review, we highlight the single molecule techniques that can be used to assess the effect of point mutations on β-cardiac myosin function. Recent bioengineering advances have enabled the micromanipulation of single cardiomyocyte cells to characterize their force-length dynamics. Here, we briefly review single cell micromanipulation as an approach to determine the effect of β-MyHC mutations on cardiomyocyte function. Finally, we examine the technical challenges specific to studying β-cardiac myosin function both using single molecule and single cell approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-440
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of cardiovascular translational research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inSTEM) and the National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, for funding a symposium on Cardiac and Cardiovascular disorders which catalyzed this collaborative review.


  • Cardiac Myosin
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
  • Single Molecule Analysis


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