Structural interactions between the myosin converter and relay domains have been proposed to be critical for the myosin power stroke and muscle power generation. We tested this hypothesis by mutating converter residue 759, which interacts with relay residues I508, N509, and D511, to glutamate (R759E) and determined the effect on Drosophila indirect flight muscle mechanical performance. Work loop analysis of mutant R759E indirect flight muscle fibers revealed a 58% and 31% reduction in maximum power generation (P(WL)) and the frequency at which maximum power (f(WL)) is generated, respectively, compared to control fibers at 15 °C. Small amplitude sinusoidal analysis revealed a 30%, 36%, and 32% reduction in mutant elastic modulus, viscous modulus, and mechanical rate constant 2πb, respectively. From these results, we infer that the mutation reduces rates of transitions through work-producing cross-bridge states and/or force generation during strongly bound states. The reductions in muscle power output, stiffness, and kinetics were physiologically relevant, as mutant wing beat frequency and flight index decreased about 10% and 45% compared to control flies at both 15 °C and 25 °C. Thus, interactions between the relay loop and converter domain are critical for lever-arm and catalytic domain coordination, high muscle power generation, and optimal Drosophila flight performance.
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