Recent breakthroughs and technological improvements are rapidly generating evidence supporting the "swinging lever arm model" for force production by myosin. Unlike previous models, this model posits that the globular domain of the myosin motor binds to actin with a constant orientation during force generation. Movement of the neck domain of the motor is hypothesized to occur relative to the globular domain much like a lever arm. This intramolecular conformational change drives the movement of the bound actin. The swinging lever arm model is supported by or consistent with a large number of experimental data obtained with skeletal muscle or slime mold myosins, all of which move actin filaments at rates between 1 and 10 μm/s in vitro. Recently myosin was purified from Chara intemodal cells. In vitro, the purified Chara myosin moves actin filaments at rates one order of magnitude faster than the "fast" skeletal muscle myosin. While this ultra fast movement is not necessarily inconsistent with the swinging lever arm model, one or more specific facets of the motor must be altered in the Chara motor in order to accommodate such rapid movement. These characteristics are experimentally testable, thus the ultra fast movement by Chara myosin represents a powerful and compelling test of the swinging lever arm model.
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