Alternative S2 Hinge Regions of the Myosin Rod Differentially Affect Muscle Function, Myofibril Dimensions and Myosin Tail Length

Jennifer A. Suggs, Anthony Cammarato, William A. Kronert, Massoud Nikkhoy, Corey M. Dambacher, Aram Megighian, Sanford I. Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Muscle myosin heavy chain (MHC) rod domains intertwine to form alpha-helical coiled-coil dimers; these subsequently multimerize into thick filaments via electrostatic interactions. The subfragment 2/light meromyosin "hinge" region of the MHC rod, located in the C-terminal third of heavy meromyosin, may form a less stable coiled-coil than flanking regions. Partial "melting" of this region has been proposed to result in a helix to random-coil transition. A portion of the Drosophila melanogaster MHC hinge is encoded by mutually exclusive alternative exons 15a and 15b, the use of which correlates with fast (hinge A) or slow (hinge B) muscle physiological properties. To test the functional significance of alternative hinge regions, we constructed transgenic fly lines in which fast muscle isovariant hinge A was switched for slow muscle hinge B in the MHC isoforms of indirect flight and jump muscles. Substitution of the slow muscle hinge B impaired flight ability, increased sarcomere lengths by approximately 13% and resulted in minor disruption to indirect flight muscle sarcomeric structure compared with a transgenic control. With age, residual flight ability decreased rapidly and myofibrils developed peripheral defects. Computational analysis indicates that hinge B has a greater coiled-coil propensity and thus reduced flexibility compared to hinge A. Intriguingly, the MHC rod with hinge B was ∼5 nm longer than myosin with hinge A, consistent with the more rigid coiled-coil conformation predicted for hinge B. Our study demonstrates that hinge B cannot functionally substitute for hinge A in fast muscle types, likely as a result of differences in the molecular structure of the rod, subtle changes in myofibril structure and decreased ability to maintain sarcomere structure in indirect flight muscle myofibrils. Thus, alternative hinges are important in dictating the distinct functional properties of myosin isoforms and the muscles in which they are expressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1312-1329
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 13 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • S2 hinge
  • indirect flight muscle
  • myofibril
  • myosin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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