Novel sensors of the regulatory switch on the regulatory light chain of smooth muscle Myosin

J Biol Chem. 2004 Sep 17;279(38):39905-14. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M407062200. Epub 2004 Jul 15.


Smooth muscle myosin can be switched on by phosphorylation of Ser-19 of the regulatory light chain. Our previous photocross-linking results suggested that an element of the structural mechanism for the regulatory switch was a phosphorylation-induced motion of the regulatory light chain N terminus (Wahlstrom, J. L., Randall, M. A., Jr., Lawson, J. D., Lyons, D. E., Siems, W. F., Crouch, G. J., Barr, R., Facemyer, K. C., and Cremo, C. R. (2003) J. Biol. Chem. 278, 5123-5131). Here we used three different approaches to test this notion, which are reactivity of cysteine thiols, pyrene and acrylodan spectral analysis, and pyrene fluorescence quenching. All methods detected significant differences between the unphosphorylated and phosphorylated regulatory light chain N termini in heavy meromyosin, a double-headed subfragment with an intact regulatory switch. These differences were not observed for subfragment-1, a single-headed, unregulated subfragment. In the presence of either ATP or ADP, phosphorylation increased the solvent exposure and decreased the polarity of the environment about position 23 of the regulatory light chain of heavy meromyosin. These phosphorylation-induced structural changes were not as evident in the absence of nucleotides. Nucleotide binding to unphosphorylated heavy meromyosin caused a decrease in exposure and an increase in polarity of the N terminus, whereas the effects of nucleotide on phosphorylated heavy meromyosin were the opposite. We showed a direct correlation between the kinetics of nucleotide binding/turnover and the conformational change reported by acrylodan at position 23 of the regulatory light chain. Acrylodan-A23C also reports the heads up (extended) to flexed (folded) transition in unphosphorylated heavy meromyosin. This is the first demonstration of direct coupling of nucleotide binding to conformational changes in the N terminus of the regulatory light chain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 2-Naphthylamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Smooth / metabolism*
  • Myosin Light Chains / chemistry*
  • Myosin Light Chains / genetics
  • Myosin Light Chains / metabolism*
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Pyrenes
  • Smooth Muscle Myosins / chemistry*
  • Smooth Muscle Myosins / genetics
  • Smooth Muscle Myosins / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Actins
  • Myosin Light Chains
  • Pyrenes
  • acrylodan
  • pyrene
  • 2-Naphthylamine
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Smooth Muscle Myosins