Dictyostelium Myosin Bipolar Thick Filament Formation: Importance of Charge and Specific Domains of the Myosin Rod

Myosin-II thick filament formation in Dictyostelium is an excellent system for investigating the phenomenon of self-assembly, as the myosin molecule itself contains all the information required to form a structure of defined size. Phosphorylation of only three threonine residues can dramatically change the assembly state of myosin-II. We show here that the C-terminal 68 kDa of the myosin-II tail (termed AD-Cterm) assembles in a regulated manner similar to full-length myosin-II and forms bipolar thick filament (BTF) structures when a green fluorescent protein (GFP) "head" is added to the N terminus. The localization of this GFP-AD-Cterm to the cleavage furrow of dividing Dictyostelium cells depends on assembly state, similar to full-length myosin-II. This tail fragment therefore represents a good model system for the regulated formation and localization of BTFs. By reducing regulated BTF assembly to a more manageable model system, we were able to explore determinants of myosin-II self-assembly. Our data support a model in which a globular head limits the size of a BTF, and the large-scale charge character of the AD-Cterm region is important for BTF formation. Truncation analysis of AD-Cterm tail fragments shows that assembly is delicately balanced, resulting in assembled myosin-II molecules that are poised to disassemble due to the phosphorylation of only three threonines.
Hostetter, Daniel, et al. "Dictyostelium myosin bipolar thick filament formation: importance of charge and specific domains of the myosin rod." PLoS Biol 2.11 (2004): e356.