Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Biophysics

pp 1671-1679

Myosin Work and Motility: Mechanism

  • David AltmanAffiliated withDepartment of Physics, Willamette University Email author 


Chemomechanical cycle of myosins; Molecular motors; Structural and kinetic tuning of myosins


Myosins are a superfamily of molecular motors that convert the chemical energy of ATP hydrolysis into directed motion along the filamentous protein actin.


Myosins function by converting the chemical energy associated with ATP hydrolysis into force and directed motion. The goal of this review is to discuss the coupled chemical and mechanical cycles that allow this energy transduction to occur and to examine how this kinetic cycle is “tuned” by the various myosin classes to achieve distinct functions.

Myosin Structural Features

Although there are at least 35 distinct myosin classes implicated in a variety of cellular processes (Ordonitz and Kollmar 2007), all myosins share certain structural features, which are discussed in detail in “Myosin:​ Fundamental Properties and Structure.” A brief overview is provided here.

Myosins exhibit a three-dom ...

This is an excerpt from the content