Allosteric communication in myosin V: from small conformational changes to large directed movements

PLoS Comput Biol. 2008 Aug 15;4(8):e1000129. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000129.


The rigor to post-rigor transition in myosin, a consequence of ATP binding, plays an essential role in the Lymn-Taylor functional cycle because it results in the dissociation of the actomyosin complex after the powerstroke. On the basis of the X-ray structures of myosin V, we have developed a new normal mode superposition model for the transition path between the two states. Rigid-body motions of the various subdomains and specific residues at the subdomain interfaces are key elements in the transition. The allosteric communication between the nucleotide binding site and the U50/L50 cleft is shown to result from local changes due to ATP binding, which induce large amplitude motions that are encoded in the structure of the protein. The triggering event is the change in the interaction of switch I and the P-loop, which is stabilized by ATP binding. The motion of switch I, which is a relatively rigid element of the U50 subdomain, leads directly to a partial opening of the U50/L50 cleft; the latter is expected to weaken the binding of myosin to actin. The calculated transition path demonstrates the nature of the subdomain coupling and offers an explanation for the mutual exclusion of ATP and actin binding. The mechanism of the uncoupling of the converter from the motor head, an essential part of the transition, is elucidated. The origin of the partial untwisting of the central beta-sheet in the rigor to post-rigor transition is described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Actomyosin / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Allosteric Regulation / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Energy Transfer / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Models, Molecular
  • Motion
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Myosin Subfragments / metabolism
  • Myosin Type V / chemistry*
  • Myosin Type V / metabolism*
  • Myosin Type V / ultrastructure
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Protein Conformation
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Actins
  • Myosin Subfragments
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Actomyosin
  • Myosin Type V
  • Myosin Heavy Chains