The highly oriented filamentous protein network of muscle constantly experiences significant mechanical load during muscle operation. The dimeric protein myomesin has been identified as an important M-band component supporting the mechanical integrity of the entire sarcomere. Recent structural studies have revealed a long α-helical linker between the C-terminal immunoglobulin (Ig) domains My12 and My13 of myomesin. In this paper, we have used single-molecule force spectroscopy in combination with molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the mechanics of the myomesin dimer comprising immunoglobulin domains My12-My13. We find that at forces of approximately 30 pN the α-helical linker reversibly elongates allowing the molecule to extend by more than the folded extension of a full domain. High-resolution measurements directly reveal the equilibrium folding/ unfolding kinetics of the individual helix. We show that α-helix unfolding mechanically protects the molecule homodimerization from dissociation at physiologically relevant forces. As fast and reversible molecular springs the myomesin α-helical linkers are an essential component for the structural integrity of the M band.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2011 Aug 23|
- Atomic force microscopy
- Protein folding
ASJC Scopus subject areas