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Evolutionary studies of myosin

Our observations suggest that the interacting heads motif is a common mechanism for switching off activity in myosin II across the animal kingdom. We have tested this idea by comparing myosin molecules from across the evolutionary time scale, from the earliest animals (sponges) to mammals. We find the same structure in all cases. We conclude that the folded myosin structure originated at the earliest times of evolution and must be fundamental to myosin and motility (Jung et al., MBOC 2008; Lee et al., PNAS 2018). A comparison of thick filaments from different species leads to the same conclusion: the same motif is present in all species so far studied, from primitive invertebrates to vertebrates (Zoghbi et al., PNAS 2008; Zhao et al., JMB, 2009; Woodhead et al., PNAS 2013).  The early origin and high conservation implies that head-head interaction is crucial to the ability of muscles to relax.  Our current research focuses on obtaining near-atomic resolution detail on the interaction by high-resolution cryo-EM.

Craig Lab - UMMS - IHM conservation