Structural and functional insights into the Myosin motor mechanism

Annu Rev Biophys. 2010;39:539-57. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biophys.050708.133751.


The general structural features of the motor region of myosin superfamily members are now well established, as is a subset of the structural and kinetic transitions of the actin-myosin catalytic cycle. Not yet visualized are the structural rearrangements triggered by actin binding that are coupled to force generation and product release. In this review we describe the recent progress in understanding these missing components of the mechanism of chemomechanical transduction by myosin motors. These insights come from a combination of kinetic and single-molecule studies on multiple classes of myosins, with additional insights from contracting muscle fibers. These recent studies have explored the effects of intermediate and high loads on the kinetics of the actin-bound myosin state transitions. We also describe studies that delineate how some classes of myosin motors are adapted for processive movement on actin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myosins / chemistry
  • Myosins / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Myosins