Using muscle tissue from tarantulas, an HHMI international research scholar and his colleagues have figured out the detailed structure and arrangement of the miniature molecular motors that control movement. Their work, which takes advantage of a new technique for visualizing tissues in their natural state, provides new insights into the molecular basis of muscle relaxation, and perhaps its activation too.
Atomic Model of the Thick Filament from Tarantula Striated Muscle - The surface of the three-dimensional reconstruction of the thick filament is shown in gray, together with the atomic models of two myosin molecules, indicating the intramolecular and intermolecular interactions. Image: John Woodhead
“We have solved the structure of the array of miniature motors that form our muscles and found out how they are switched off,” said Raúl Padrón, a HHMI international research scholar in the Department of Structural Biology at the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas or IVIC) in Caracas, Venezuela.
The findings are reported in the August 25, 2005, issue of the journal Nature.
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