The ancient sarcomeric myosins found in specialized muscles

Skelet Muscle. 2019 Mar 5;9(1):7. doi: 10.1186/s13395-019-0192-3.


Striated muscles express an array of sarcomeric myosin motors that are tuned to accomplish specific tasks. Each myosin isoform found in muscle fibers confers unique contractile properties to the fiber in order to meet the demands of the muscle. The sarcomeric myosin heavy chain (MYH) genes expressed in the major cardiac and skeletal muscles have been studied for decades. However, three ancient myosins, MYH7b, MYH15, and MYH16, remained uncharacterized due to their unique expression patterns in common mammalian model organisms and due to their relatively recent discovery in these genomes. This article reviews the literature surrounding these three ancient sarcomeric myosins and the specialized muscles in which they are expressed. Further study of these ancient myosins and how they contribute to the functions of the specialized muscles may provide novel insight into the history of striated muscle evolution.

Keywords: Ancient myosins; Extraocular muscle; MYH15; MYH16; MYH7b; Masticatory muscle; Muscle spindles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / ultrastructure
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Myosin Heavy Chains