The Structural Dynamics of Alpha-Tropomyosin on F-Actin Shape the Overlap Complex between Adjacent Tropomyosin Molecules
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 East Concord Street, Boston, MA 02118 USA. Electronic address: .Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (Impact Factor: 3.02). 09/2013; 552(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.abb.2013.09.011
Coiled-coil tropomyosin, localized on actin filaments in virtually all eukaryotic cells, serves as a gatekeeper regulating access of the motor protein myosin and other actin-binding proteins onto the thin filament surface. Tropomyosin's modular pseudo-repeating pattern of approximately 39 amino acid residues is designed to allow binding of the coiled-coil to successive actin subunits along thin filaments. Even though different tropomyosin isoforms contain varying numbers of repeat modules, the pseudo-repeat length, in all cases, matches that of a single actin subunit. Thus, the seven pseudo-repeats of 42 nm long muscle tropomyosin bind to seven successive actin subunits along thin filaments, while simultaneously bending into a super-helical conformation that is preshaped to the actin filament helix. In order to form a continuous cable on thin filaments that is free of gaps, adjacent tropomyosin molecules polymerize head-to-tail by means of a short (∼9 residue) overlap. Several laboratories have engineered peptides to mimic the N- and C-terminal tropomyosin association and to characterize the overlap structure. All overlapping domains examined show a compact N-terminal coiled-coil inserting into a partially opened C-terminal partner, where the opposing coiled-coils at the overlap junction face each other at up to ∼90° twist angles. Here, Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations were carried out to determine constraints on the formation of the tropomyosin overlap complex and to assess the amount of twisting exhibited by full-length tropomyosin when bound to actin. With the exception of the last 20 to 40 C- and N-terminal residues, we find that the average tropomyosin structure closely resembles a "canonical" model proposed in the classic work of McLachlan and Stewart, displaying perfectly symmetrical supercoil geometry matching the F-actin helix with an integral number of coiled-coil turns, a coiled-coil helical pitch of 137 Å, a superhelical pitch of 770 Å, and no localized pseudo-rotation. Over the middle 70% of tropomyosin, the average twisting of the coiled-coil deviates only by 10° from the canonical model and the torsional freedom is very small (std. dev. of 7°). This small degree of twisting cannot yield the orthogonal N- and C-termini configuration observed experimentally. In marked contrast, considerable coiled-coil unfolding, splaying and twisting at N- and C-terminal ends is observed, providing the conformational plasticity needed for head-to-tail nexus formation.
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ABSTRACT: Muscle contraction is regulated by tropomyosin movement across the thin filament surface, which exposes or blocks myosin-binding sites on actin. Recent atomic structures of F-actin-tropomyosin have yielded the positions of tropomyosin on myosin-free and myosin-decorated actin. Here, the repositioning of -tropomyosin between these locations on F-actin was systematically examined by optimizing the energy of the complex for a wide range of tropomyosin positions on F-actin. The resulting energy landscape provides a full-map of the F-actin surface preferred by tropomyosin, revealing a broad energy basin associated with the tropomyosin position that blocks myosin-binding. This is consistent with previously proposed low-energy oscillations of semi-rigid tropomyosin, necessary for shifting of tropomyosin following troponin-binding. In contrast, the landscape shows much less favorable energies when tropomyosin locates near its myosin-induced "open-state" position. This indicates that spontaneous movement of tropomyosin away from its energetic "ground-state" to the open-state is unlikely in absence of myosin. Instead, myosin-binding must drive tropomyosin toward the open-state to activate the thin filament. Additional energy landscapes were computed for disease-causing actin mutants that distort the topology of the actin-tropomyosin energy landscape, explaining their phenotypes. Thus, the computation of such energy landscapes offers a sensitive way to estimate the impact of mutations.Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 01/2014; 545. DOI:10.1016/j.abb.2014.01.001 · 3.02 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To be effective as a gatekeeper regulating the access of binding proteins to the actin filament, adjacent tropomyosin molecules associate head-to-tail to form a continuous super-helical cable running along the filament surface. Chimeric head-to-tail structures have been solved by NMR and X-ray crystallography for N- and C-terminal segments of smooth and striated muscle tropomyosin spliced onto non-native coiled-coil forming peptides. The resulting 4-helix complexes have a tight coiled-coil N-terminus inserted into a separated pair of C-terminal helices, with some helical unfolding of the terminal chains in the striated muscle peptides. These overlap complexes are distinctly curved, much more so than elsewhere along the superhelical tropomyosin cable. To verify whether the non-native protein adducts (needed to stabilize the coiled-coil chimeras) perturb the overlap, we carried out Molecular Dynamics simulations of head-to-tail structures having only native tropomyosin sequences We observe that the splayed chains all refold and become helical. Significantly, the curvature of both the smooth and the striated muscle overlap domain is reduced and becomes comparable to that of the rest of the tropomyosin cable. Moreover, the measured flexibility across the junction is small. This and the reduced curvature ensure that the super-helical cable matches the contours of F-actin without manifesting localized kinking and excessive flexibility, thus enabling the high degree of cooperativity in the regulation of myosin accessibility to actin filaments.Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 03/2014; 446(1). DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.02.097 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Tropomyosin regulates a wide variety of actin filament functions and is best known for the role that it plays together with troponin in controlling muscle activity. For effective performance on actin filaments, adjacent 42-nm-long tropomyosin molecules are joined together by a 9- to 10-residue head-to-tail overlapping domain to form a continuous cable that wraps around the F-actin helix. Yet, despite the apparent simplicity of tropomyosin's coiled-coil structure and its well-known periodic association with successive actin subunits along F-actin, the structure of the tropomyosin cable on actin is uncertain. This is because the conformation of the overlap region that joins neighboring molecules is poorly understood, thus leaving a significant gap in our understanding of thin-filament structure and regulation. However, recent molecular-dynamics simulations of overlap segments defined their overall shape and provided unique and sufficient cues to model the whole actin-tropomyosin filament assembly in atomic detail. In this study, we show that these MD structures merge seamlessly onto the ends of tropomyosin coiled-coils. Adjacent tropomyosin molecules can then be joined together to provide a comprehensive model of the tropomyosin cable running continuously on F-actin. The resulting complete model presented here describes for the first time (to our knowledge) an atomic-level structure of αα-striated muscle tropomyosin bound to an actin filament that includes the critical overlap domain. Thus, the model provides a structural correlate to evaluate thin-filament mechanics, self-assembly mechanisms, and the effect of disease-causing mutations.Biophysical Journal 08/2014; 107(3):694-9. DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2014.06.034 · 3.97 Impact Factor
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