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Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol May 1, 1997; 117 (1): 39-49.

Characterization of isoform diversity among smooth muscle and nonmuscle myosin heavy chains.

In the last decade, as a result of molecular cloning and the reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, numerous isoforms of the contractile protein myosin have been discovered. What lags behind their discovery is knowledge of their functions. This review focuses on some of my recent work on the structure, function and regulation of isoforms of the heavy chain of vertebrate smooth muscle and nonmuscle myosin II. Reference to related work in the field is included where appropriate. The particular isoforms discussed are those that are generated by alternative splicing near the 5'' end of the pre-mRNA, resulting in either an insertion or a deletion of a cassette of amino acids near the amino-terminus of the myosin heavy chain (MHC) protein. In both the smooth muscle and nonmuscle MHCs, this splicing occurs in the exact same region, which begins at amino acid 212 in the primary sequence. In the three-dimensional structure of the molecule, these inserts are located near the ATP-binding pocket in a region of the MHC that was not resolved in the crystal structure and therefore is believed to represent a flexible loop. In the smooth muscle MHC, the insertion of seven amino acids in this loop confers a higher enzymatic activity on the myosin. The potential mechanism by which this occurs and the significance to smooth muscle contractile diversity is discussed. In the nonmuscle MHC, the insert in this region is a different size and sequence of amino acids than that in the smooth muscle MHC. A serine residue (Ser-214) in the nonmuscle loop is phosphorylated by p34cdc2 kinase in Xenopus during meiotic maturation of oocytes to eggs and is dephosphorylated in interphase egg extracts that are equivalent to the interphase after fertilization of the egg. Thus, MHC-B phosphorylation by cdc2 kinase correlates with the cortical reorganization that occurs during meiosis, and dephosphorylation correlates with the cortical contraction that occurs at fertilization, which aids in pronuclear fusion. In summary, these inserts in the MHC molecule, in a flexible loop near the ATP-binding pocket, appear to be important in determining differences in function or regulation among myosin II isoforms.

PubMed ID: 9180013
Article link:

Genes referenced: cdk1 myh10 myh4 myh6 pold1

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