Hydrophobicity variations along the surface of the coiled-coil rod may mediate striated muscle myosin assembly in Caenorhabditis elegans.
ABSTRACT: Caenorhabditis elegans body wall muscle contains two isoforms of myosin heavy chain, MHC A and MHC B, that differ in their ability to initiate thick filament assembly. Whereas mutant animals that lack the major isoform, MHC B, have fewer thick filaments, mutant animals that lack the minor isoform, MHC A, contain no normal thick filaments. MHC A, but not MHC B, is present at the center of the bipolar thick filament where initiation of assembly is thought to occur (Miller, D.M.,I. Ortiz, G.C. Berliner, and H.F. Epstein. 1983. Cell. 34:477-490). We mapped the sequences that confer A-specific function by constructing chimeric myosins and testing them in vivo. We have identified two distinct regions of the MHC A rod that are sufficient in chimeric myosins for filament initiation function. Within these regions, MHC A displays a more hydrophobic rod surface, making it more similar to paramyosin, which forms the thick filament core. We propose that these regions play an important role in filament initiation, perhaps mediating close contacts between MHC A and paramyosin in an antiparallel arrangement at the filament center. Furthermore, our analysis revealed that all striated muscle myosins show a characteristic variation in surface hydrophobicity along the length of the rod that may play an important role in driving assembly and determining the stagger at which dimers associate.
Project description:To gain further insight into the molecular architecture, assembly, and maintenance of the sarcomere, we have carried out a molecular analysis of the UNC-96 protein in the muscle of Caenorhabditis elegans. By polarized light microscopy of body wall muscle, unc-96 mutants display reduced myofibrillar organization and characteristic birefringent "needles." By immunofluorescent staining of known myofibril components, unc-96 mutants show major defects in the organization of M-lines and in the localization of a major thick filament component, paramyosin. In unc-96 mutants, the birefringent needles, which contain both UNC-98 and paramyosin, can be suppressed by starvation or by exposure to reduced temperature. UNC-96 is a novel approximately 47-kDa polypeptide that has no recognizable domains. Antibodies generated to UNC-96 localize the protein to the M-line, a region of the sarcomere in which thick filaments are cross-linked. By genetic and biochemical criteria, UNC-96 interacts with UNC-98, a previously described component of M-lines, and paramyosin. Additionally, UNC-96 copurifies with native thick filaments. A model is presented in which UNC-96 is required in adult muscle to promote thick filament assembly and/or maintenance.
Project description:Muscle thick filaments are stable assemblies of myosin and associated proteins whose dimensions are precisely regulated. The mechanisms underlying the stability and regulation of the assembly are not understood. As an approach to these problems, we have studied the core proteins that, together with paramyosin, form the core structure of the thick filament backbone in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We obtained partial peptide sequences from one of the core proteins, beta-filagenin, and then identified a gene that encodes a novel protein of 201-amino acid residues from databases using these sequences. beta-Filagenin has a calculated isoelectric point at 10.61 and a high percentage of aromatic amino acids. Secondary structure algorithms predict that it consists of four beta-strands but no alpha-helices. Western blotting using an affinity-purified antibody showed that beta-filagenin was associated with the cores. beta-Filagenin was localized by immunofluorescence microscopy to the A bands of body-wall muscles, but not the pharynx. beta-filagenin assembled with the myosin homologue paramyosin into the tubular cores of wild-type nematodes at a periodicity matching the 72-nm repeats of paramyosin, as revealed by immunoelectron microscopy. In CB1214 mutants where paramyosin is absent, beta-filagenin assembled with myosin to form abnormal tubular filaments with a periodicity identical to wild type. These results verify that beta-filagenin is a core protein that coassembles with either myosin or paramyosin in C. elegans to form tubular filaments.
Project description:Myosin storage myopathy (MSM) is a congenital skeletal muscle disorder caused by missense mutations in the ?-cardiac/slow skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain rod. It is characterized by subsarcolemmal accumulations of myosin that have a hyaline appearance. MSM mutations map near or within the assembly competence domain known to be crucial for thick filament formation. Drosophila MSM models were generated for comprehensive physiological, structural, and biochemical assessment of the mutations' consequences on muscle and myosin structure and function. L1793P, R1845W, and E1883K MSM mutant myosins were expressed in an indirect flight (IFM) and jump muscle myosin null background to study the effects of these variants without confounding influences from wild-type myosin. Mutant animals displayed highly compromised jump and flight ability, disrupted muscle proteostasis, and severely perturbed IFM structure. Electron microscopy revealed myofibrillar disarray and degeneration with hyaline-like inclusions. In vitro assembly assays demonstrated a decreased ability of mutant myosin to polymerize, with L1793P filaments exhibiting shorter lengths. In addition, limited proteolysis experiments showed a reduced stability of L1793P and E1883K filaments. We conclude that the disrupted hydropathy or charge of residues in the heptad repeat of the mutant myosin rods likely alters interactions that stabilize coiled-coil dimers and thick filaments, causing disruption in ordered myofibrillogenesis and/or myofibrillar integrity, and the consequent myosin aggregation. Our Drosophila models are the first to recapitulate the human MSM phenotype with ultrastructural inclusions, suggesting that the diminished ability of the mutant myosin to form stable thick filaments contributes to the dystrophic phenotype observed in afflicted subjects.
Project description:The rod of sarcomeric myosins directs thick filament assembly and is characterized by the insertion of four skip residues that introduce discontinuities in the coiled-coil heptad repeats. We report here that the regions surrounding the first three skip residues share high structural similarity despite their low sequence homology. Near each of these skip residues, the coiled-coil transitions to a nonclose-packed structure inducing local relaxation of the superhelical pitch. Moreover, molecular dynamics suggest that these distorted regions can assume different conformationally stable states. In contrast, the last skip residue region constitutes a true molecular hinge, providing C-terminal rod flexibility. Assembly of myosin with mutated skip residues in cardiomyocytes shows that the functional importance of each skip residue is associated with rod position and reveals the unique role of the molecular hinge in promoting myosin antiparallel packing. By defining the biophysical properties of the rod, the structures and molecular dynamic calculations presented here provide insight into thick filament formation, and highlight the structural differences occurring between the coiled-coils of myosin and the stereotypical tropomyosin. In addition to extending our knowledge into the conformational and biological properties of coiled-coil discontinuities, the molecular characterization of the four myosin skip residues also provides a guide to modeling the effects of rod mutations causing cardiac and skeletal myopathies.
Project description:Sarcomeric myosins have the remarkable ability to form regular bipolar thick filaments that, together with actin thin filaments, constitute the fundamental contractile unit of skeletal and cardiac muscle. This has been established for over 50 years and yet a molecular model for the thick filament has not been attained. In part this is due to the lack of a detailed molecular model for the coiled-coil that constitutes the myosin rod. The ability to self-assemble resides in the C-terminal section of myosin known as light meromyosin (LMM) which exhibits strong salt-dependent aggregation that has inhibited structural studies. Here we evaluate the feasibility of generating a complete model for the myosin rod by combining overlapping structures of five sections of coiled-coil covering 164 amino acid residues which constitute 20% of LMM. Each section contains ? 7-9 heptads of myosin. The problem of aggregation was overcome by incorporating the globular folding domains, Gp7 and Xrcc4 which enhance crystallization. The effect of these domains on the stability and conformation of the myosin rod was examined through biophysical studies and overlapping structures. In addition, a computational approach was developed to combine the sections into a contiguous model. The structures were aligned, trimmed to form a contiguous model, and simulated for >700 ns to remove the discontinuities and achieve an equilibrated conformation that represents the native state. This experimental and computational strategy lays the foundation for building a model for the entire myosin rod.
Project description:Myosin heavy chain (MHC) is a large, multidomain protein important for both cellular structure and contraction. To examine the functional role of two C-terminal domains, the end of the coiled-coil rod and the nonhelical tailpiece, we have generated constructs in which residues within these domains are removed or mutated, and examined their behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans striated muscle. Genetic tests demonstrate that MHC lacking only tailpiece residues is competent to support the timely onset of embryonic contractions, and therefore viability, in animals lacking full-length MHC. Antibody staining experiments show that this truncated molecule localizes as wild type in early stages of development, but may be defective in processes important for thick filament organization later in embryogenesis. Ultrastructural analysis reveals thick filaments of normal morphology in disorganized arrangement, as well as occasional abnormal assemblages. In contrast, molecules in which the four terminal residues of the coiled coil are absent or mutated fail to rescue animals lacking endogenous MHC. Loss of these four residues is associated with delayed protein localization and delayed contractile function during early embryogenesis. Our results suggest that these two MHC domains, the rod and the tailpiece, are required for distinct steps during muscle development.
Project description:UNC-89 is a giant polypeptide located at the sarcomeric M-line of Caenorhabditis elegans muscle. The human homologue is obscurin. To understand how UNC-89 is localized and functions, we have been identifying its binding partners. Screening a yeast two-hybrid library revealed that UNC-89 interacts with paramyosin. Paramyosin is an invertebrate-specific coiled-coil dimer protein that is homologous to the rod portion of myosin heavy chains and resides in thick filament cores. Minimally, this interaction requires UNC-89's SH3 domain and residues 294-376 of paramyosin and has a KD of ?1.1 ?M. In unc-89 loss-of-function mutants that lack the SH3 domain, paramyosin is found in accumulations. When the SH3 domain is overexpressed, paramyosin is mislocalized. SH3 domains usually interact with a proline-rich consensus sequence, but the region of paramyosin that interacts with UNC-89's SH3 is ?-helical and lacks prolines. Homology modeling of UNC-89's SH3 suggests structural features that might be responsible for this interaction. The SH3-binding region of paramyosin contains a "skip residue," which is likely to locally unwind the coiled-coil and perhaps contributes to the binding specificity.
Project description:Lamins are nuclear intermediate filament proteins and the major building blocks of the nuclear lamina. Besides providing nuclear shape and mechanical stability, lamins are required for chromatin organization, transcription regulation, DNA replication, nuclear assembly, nuclear positioning, and apoptosis. Mutations in human lamins cause many different heritable diseases, affecting various tissues and causing early aging. Although many of these mutations result in nuclear deformation, their effects on lamin filament assembly are unknown. Caenorhabditis elegans has a single evolutionarily conserved lamin protein, which can form stable 10-nm-thick filaments in vitro. To gain insight into the molecular basis of lamin filament assembly and the effects of laminopathic mutations on this process, we investigated mutations in conserved residues of the rod and tail domains that are known to cause various laminopathies in human. We show that 8 of 14 mutant lamins present WT-like assembly into filaments or paracrystals, whereas 6 mutants show assembly defects. Correspondingly, expressing these mutants in transgenic animals shows abnormal distribution of Ce-lamin, abnormal nuclear shape or change in lamin mobility. These findings help in understanding the role of individual residues and domains in laminopathy pathology and, eventually, promote the development of therapeutic interventions.
Project description:In muscle, force emerges from myosin binding with actin (forming a cross-bridge). This actomyosin binding depends upon myofilament geometry, kinetics of thin-filament Ca(2+) activation, and kinetics of cross-bridge cycling. Binding occurs within a compliant network of protein filaments where there is mechanical coupling between myosins along the thick-filament backbone and between actin monomers along the thin filament. Such mechanical coupling precludes using ordinary differential equation models when examining the effects of lattice geometry, kinetics, or compliance on force production. This study uses two stochastically driven, spatially explicit models to predict levels of cross-bridge binding, force, thin-filament Ca(2+) activation, and ATP utilization. One model incorporates the 2-to-1 ratio of thin to thick filaments of vertebrate striated muscle (multi-filament model), while the other comprises only one thick and one thin filament (two-filament model). Simulations comparing these models show that the multi-filament predictions of force, fractional cross-bridge binding, and cross-bridge turnover are more consistent with published experimental values. Furthermore, the values predicted by the multi-filament model are greater than those values predicted by the two-filament model. These increases are larger than the relative increase of potential inter-filament interactions in the multi-filament model versus the two-filament model. This amplification of coordinated cross-bridge binding and cycling indicates a mechanism of cooperativity that depends on sarcomere lattice geometry, specifically the ratio and arrangement of myofilaments.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Actin-dependent myosin II molecular motors form an integral part of the cell cytoskeleton. Myosin II molecules contain a long coiled-coil rod that mediates filament assembly required for myosin II to exert its full activity. The exact mechanisms orchestrating filament assembly are not fully understood. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we examine mechanisms controlling filament assembly of non-muscle myosin IIB heavy chain (MHC-IIB). We show that in vitro the entire C-terminus region of net positive charge, found in myosin II rods, is important for self-assembly of MHC-IIB fragments. In contrast, no particular sequences in the rod region with net negative charge were identified as important for self-assembly, yet a minimal area from this region is necessary. Proper paracrystal formation by MHC-IIB fragments requires the 196aa charge periodicity along the entire coiled-coil region. In vivo, in contrast to self-assembly in vitro, negatively-charged regions of the coiled-coil were found to play an important role by controlling the intracellular localization of native MHC-IIB. The entire positively-charged region is also important for intracellular localization of native MHC-IIB. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: A correct distribution of positive and negative charges along myosin II rod is a necessary component in proper filament assembly and intracellular localization of MHC-IIB.