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Structure of Limulus and Other Invertebrate Thick Filaments

  • Rhea J. C. Levine
  • Robert W. Kensler
  • Mary Reedy
  • Waltraud Hoffman
  • Sandra Davidheiser
  • Robert E. Davies
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 37)

Abstract

We have demonstrated remarkable similarity among the skeletal muscles of chelicerate arthropods with respect to the cross-bridge arrangement on the surface of their thick filaments. The latter, gently isolated from the muscles of three representative species (Limulus telson, tarantula leg and scorpion leg and tail) have been examined by electron microscopy and optical diffraction using both negatively stained and unidirectionally metal shadowed preparations. The filaments are highly periodic and produce clear and detailed diffraction patterns. The cross-bridge projections form integral surface helices, with an axial spacing of 14.5 nm between adjacent crowns and a major axial repeat every 43.5 nm. We have demonstrated previously that Limulus filaments are four-stranded and analysis of both electron micrographs and their transforms, as well as optical reconstructions of the arachnid filaments is consistent with their also having a four-start surface helix, which is right-handed in all cases. Of all those examined thus far, only Limulus thick filaments have been demonstrated to change length under various conditions. Shortened Limulus filaments isolated from K+-stimulated fibers retain the 43.5 nm axial repeat periodicity and 14.5 nm axial spacing between crowns. In preliminary analysis of negatively stained and metal shadowed preparations, we see no systematic change with respect to screw or rotational symmetry in short as compared with long filaments. A few of the former have a very slightly increased diameter (3–4 nm) in the middle of each filament arm. This region often shows disorder on optical transforms. From our results we cannot rule out the possibility that disaggregation and reaggregation of thick filament proteins accompany the changes in length of Limulus thick filaments.

Keywords

Myosin Head Layer Line Thick Filament Filament Length Optical Diffraction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rhea J. C. Levine
    • 1
  • Robert W. Kensler
    • 1
  • Mary Reedy
    • 2
  • Waltraud Hoffman
    • 3
  • Sandra Davidheiser
    • 4
  • Robert E. Davies
    • 4
  1. 1.The Medical College of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Duke University School of MedicineDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Max-Planck Institute für Medizinische Forschung HeidelbergWest Germany
  4. 4.University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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