Forkey JN, Quinlan ME, Alexander Shaw M, Corrie JE, Goldman YE
Nature 2003 Mar 27;422(6930):399-404
The structural change that generates force and motion in actomyosin motility has been proposed to be tilting of the myosin light chain domain, which serves as a lever arm. Several experimental approaches have provided support for the lever arm hypothesis; however, the extent and timing of tilting motions are not well defined in the motor protein complex of functioning actomyosin. Here we report three-dimensional measurements of the structural dynamics of the light chain domain of brain myosin V using a single-molecule fluorescence polarization technique that determines the orientation of individual protein domains with 20-40-ms time resolution. Single fluorescent calmodulin light chains tilted back and forth between two well-defined angles as the myosin molecule processively translocated along actin. The results provide evidence for lever arm rotation of the calmodulin-binding domain in myosin V, and support a 'hand-over-hand' mechanism for the translocation of double-headed myosin V molecules along actin filaments. The technique is applicable to the study of real-time structural changes in other biological systems.