Different Myosin Head Conformations in Bony Fish Muscles Put into Rigor at Different Sarcomere Lengths

Felicity Eakins, Jeffrey J Harford, Carlo Knupp, Manfred Roessle, John M Squire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
297 Downloads (Pure)


At a resting sarcomere length of approximately 2.2 µm bony fish muscles put into rigor in the presence of BDM (2,3-butanedione monoxime) to reduce rigor tension generation show the normal arrangement of myosin head interactions with actin filaments as monitored by low-angle X-ray diffraction. However, if the muscles are put into rigor using the same protocol but stretched to 2.5 µm sarcomere length, a markedly different structure is observed. The X-ray diffraction pattern is not just a weaker version of the pattern at full overlap, as might be expected, but it is quite different. It is compatible with the actin-attached myosin heads being in a different conformation on actin, with the average centre of cross-bridge mass at a higher radius than in normal rigor and the myosin lever arms conforming less to the actin filament geometry, probably pointing back to their origins on their parent myosin filaments. The possible nature of this new rigor cross-bridge conformation is discussed in terms of other well-known states such as the weak binding state and the 'roll and lock' mechanism; we speculate that we may have trapped most myosin heads in an early attached strong actin-binding state in the cross-bridge cycle on actin.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2091
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date18 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • rigor muscle
  • myosin cross-bridge cycle
  • steric blocking mechanism
  • roll and lock mechanism
  • low-angle X-ray diffraction
  • synchrotron radiation
  • bony fish muscle


Dive into the research topics of 'Different Myosin Head Conformations in Bony Fish Muscles Put into Rigor at Different Sarcomere Lengths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this