Visualization of caldesmon binding to synthetic filaments of smooth muscle myosin

Research paper by Natalia Kulikova, Zoya Podlubnaya, Robert Makuch, Renata Dąbrowska

Indexed on: 01 Feb '03Published on: 01 Feb '03Published in: Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility


We have used synthetic filaments of unphosphorylated chicken gizzard myosin with a compact, highly ordered structure under relaxing conditions (in the absence of Ca2+ and in the presence of ATP) to visualize the mode of caldesmon binding to myosin filaments by negative staining and immunogold electron microscopy. We demonstrate that the addition of caldesmon to preformed myosin filaments leads to the appearance of numerous smooth projections curving out from the filament surface. The addition of caldesmon or its N-terminal fragment resulted in the partial masking of myosin filament periodicity. However, it did not change the inner structure of the filaments. It is demonstrated that most caldesmon molecules bind to myosin filaments through the N-terminal part, while the C-terminal parts protrude from the filament surface, as confirmed by immunoelectron microscopy visualization. Together with the available biochemical data on caldesmon binding to both actin and myosin and electron microscopic observations on the mode of caldesmon attachment to actin filaments with the C-termini of the molecules curving out from the filaments, the visualization of caldesmon attachment to myosin filaments completes the scenario of actin to myosin tethering by caldesmon.