Direct modeling of X-ray diffraction pattern from contracting skeletal muscle

Biophys J. 2008 Sep 15;95(6):2880-94. doi: 10.1529/biophysj.107.120832. Epub 2008 Jun 6.


A direct modeling approach was used to quantitatively interpret the two-dimensional x-ray diffraction patterns obtained from contracting mammalian skeletal muscle. The dependence of the calculated layer line intensities on the number of myosin heads bound to the thin filaments, on the conformation of these heads and on their mode of attachment to actin, was studied systematically. Results of modeling are compared to experimental data collected from permeabilized fibers from rabbit skeletal muscle contracting at 5 degrees C and 30 degrees C and developing low and high isometric tension, respectively. The results of the modeling show that: i), the intensity of the first actin layer line is independent of the tilt of the light chain domains of myosin heads and can be used as a measure of the fraction of myosin heads stereospecifically attached to actin; ii), during isometric contraction at near physiological temperature, the fraction of these heads is approximately 40% and the light chain domains of the majority of them are more perpendicular to the filament axis than in rigor; and iii), at low temperature, when isometric tension is low, a majority of the attached myosin heads are bound to actin nonstereospecifically whereas at high temperature and tension they are bound stereospecifically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myosins / chemistry
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Rabbits
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Temperature
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Myosins