Insect crossbridges, relaxed by spin-labeled nucleotide, show well-ordered 90 degrees state by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, but spectra of electron paramagnetic resonance probes report disorder.
The structure of glycerinated Lethocerus insect flight muscle fibers, relaxed by spin-labeled ATP and vanadate (Vi), was examined using X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance (e.p.r.) spectra. We obtained excellent relaxation of MgATP quality as determined by mechanical criteria, using vanadate trapping of 2' spin-labeled 3' deoxyATP at 3 degree C. In rigor fibers, when the diphosphate analog is bound in the absence of Vi, the probes on myosin heads are well-ordered, in agreement with electron microscopic and X-ray patterns showing that myosin heads are ordered when attached strongly to actin. In relaxed muscle, however, e.p.r. spectra report orientational disorder of bound (Vi-trapped) spin-labeled nucleotide, while electron microscopic and X-ray patterns both show well-ordered bridges at a uniform 90 degrees angle to the filament axis. The spin-labeled nucleotide orientation is highly disordered, but not completely isotropic; the slight anisotropy observed in probe spectra is consistent with a shift of approximately 10% of probes from angles close to 0 degrees to angles close to 90 degrees. Measurements of probe mobility suggest that the interaction between probe and protein remains as tight in relaxed fibers as in rigor, and thus that the disorder in relaxed fibers arises from disorders of (or within) the protein and not from disorder of the probe relative to the protein. Fixation of the relaxed fibers with glutaraldehyde did not alter any aspect of the spectrum of the Vi-trapped analog, including the slight order observed, showing that the extensive inter- and intra-molecular cross-linking of the first step of sample preparation for electron microscopy had not altered relaxed crossbridge orientations. Two models that may reconcile the apparently disparate results obtained on relaxed fibers are presented: (1) a rigid myosin head could possess considerable disorder in the regular array about the thick filament; or (2) the nucleotide site could be on a disordered, probably distal, domain of myosin, while a more proximal region is well ordered on the thick filament backbone. Our findings suggest that when e.p.r. probes signal disorder of a local site or domain, this is complementary, not contradictory, to signals of general order. The e.p.r. spectra show that a portion of the myosin molecule can be disordered at the same time as the X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy show the bulk of myosin head mass to be uniformly oriented and regularly arrayed.
Reedy, MK; Lucaveche, C; Naber, N; Cooke, R
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