Myosin motors

M. A. Titus, R. E. Larson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Movement is a fundamental property of living matter. Specialized molecules with mechano-chemical properties are responsible for cellular motility and its macroscopic manifestations, such as muscle contraction. The myosins make up a large family of molecular motors that feature a conserved, mechano-chemical domain, capable of transforming the chemical energy of adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis into the generation of force and movement along filamentous actin tracks. Although first characterized as the molecular power generator of muscle contraction, myosins are now known to be ubiquitous in virtually all mammalian cell types as well as widely distributed among eukaryotic organisms, in both plants and animals. They have multifunctional roles in many cellular processes, ranging from cytokinesis and pseudopodia extension to pigment granule transport and cytoplasmic streaming. Over the past 20 years, researchers have identified over 200 myosin genes, making up more than 37 structural classes, depending on the phylogenetic and molecular criteria applied. Myosin classes are generally referred to by Roman numerals (e.g., myosin V or myosin XVI) within what is now called the myosin superfamily of molecular motors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biological Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780123786319
ISBN (Print)9780123786302
StatePublished - Feb 15 2013


  • ATP
  • Actin
  • Actomyosin
  • Evolution
  • Gene superfamily
  • Griscelli syndrome
  • Mechano-enzyme
  • Molecular motor
  • Muscle contraction
  • Myosin
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein conformation
  • Snell's Waltzer
  • Usher syndrome


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