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The myosin filament:V. Intermediate voltage electron microscopy and optical diffraction studies of the substructure

Authors
Journal
Journal of Molecular Biology
0022-2836
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
113
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0022-2836(77)90050-x

Abstract

Abstract Using a 200 kV electron microscope (JEM 200 A), thick (up to 0.4 μm) crosssections of the myosin filaments of vertebrate striated muscle were studied. It was found that: (a) with increasing section thickness the cross-sectional profiles of the shaft of the filament were increasingly more triangular and in sections 0.4 μm thick each apex of the triangle was clearly blunted. This unique cross-sectional profile is predicted by the model proposed by Pepe (1966,1967) in which 12 parallel structural units are packed to form a triangular profile with a structural unit missing at each apex of the triangle. (b) With increasing section thickness the substructure of the myosin filament was enhanced, with the best substructure visible in sections 0.2 μm to 0.3 μm thick. This strongly supports parallel alignment of structural units in the shaft of the filament as proposed by Pepe (1966,1967). (c) The substructure spacing, determined by optical diffraction from electron micrographs of cross-sections of individual myosin filaments or groups of filaments is about 4 nm. (d) The different optical diffraction patterns observed from individual myosin filaments can be explained if the projection of each structural unit in the plane of the section has an elongated profile. With a substructure spacing of 4 nm an elongated cross-sectional profile could be produced by having two myosin molecules per structural unit. Models drawn with two myosin molecules per structural unit in the model proposed by Pepe (1966,1967) gave optical diffraction patterns similar to those observed from individual filaments. (e) The different optical diffraction patterns observed from individual myosin filaments can be explained if the elongated profiles in each structural unit are similarly oriented but with the orientation changing along the length of the filament. The change in orientation per unit length of the filament must be small enough to maintain an elongated profile for the projection of the structural unit in the plane of the sections 0.3 μm thick. All of these observations and conclusions strongly support the model for the myosin filament proposed by Pepe (1966,1967).

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