Regulation of myosin filament assembly by light-chain phosphorylation.

R. C. Smith, W. Z. Cande, R. Craig, P. J. Tooth, J. M. Scholey, J. Kendrick-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Myosins isolated from vertebrate smooth muscles and non-muscle cells such as lymphocytes and platelets contain regulatory light chains (Mr = 20000), which are phosphorylated by a Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent kinase and dephosphorylated by a Ca2+-insensitive phosphatase. Phosphorylation of the regulatory light chains of these myosins in vitro regulates not only their interactions with actin but also their assembly into filaments. Under approximately physiological conditions (0.15 M NaCl, pH 7.0) stoichiometric levels of Mg-ATP disassemble these non-phosphorylated myosin filaments into species with sedimentation coefficients (So20,w) of approximately 11S. Hydrodynamic and electron microscope observations have indicated that this 11S species is a monomer with a folded conformation (Trybus et al., Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 79, 6151 (1982)). Rotary shadowing reveals that the tails of disassembled gizzard and thymus myosins are folded twice at two hinge points to form a folded three-segment structure. Phosphorylation of the regulatory light chains of these myosins causes these folded 11S molecules to unfold into the conventional extended monomeric form (6S), which is able to assemble into filaments. Thus in vitro these myosin filaments can be assembled or disassembled by phosphorylation or dephosphorylation of their light chains. Whether these results have any relevance to the situation within living non-muscle and smooth muscle cells remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological sciences
Issue number1108
StatePublished - Jul 5 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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