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Super-relaxation is a state of muscle thick filaments in which ATP turnover by myosin is much slower than that of myosin II in solution. This inhibited state, in equilibrium with a faster (relaxed) state, is ubiquitous and thought to be fundamental to muscle function, acting as a mechanism for switching off energy-consuming myosin motors when they are not being used. The structural basis of super-relaxation is usually taken to be a motif formed by myosin in which the two heads interact with each other and with the proximal tail forming an interacting-heads motif, which switches the heads off. However, recent studies show that even isolated myosin heads can exhibit this slow rate. Here, we review the role of head interactions in creating the super-relaxed state and show how increased numbers of interactions in thick filaments underlie the high levels of super-relaxation found in intact muscle. We suggest how a third, even more inhibited, state of myosin (a hyper-relaxed state) seen in certain species results from additional interactions involving the heads. We speculate on the relationship between animal lifestyle and level of super-relaxation in different species and on the mechanism of formation of the super-relaxed state. We also review how super-relaxed thick filaments are activated and how the super-relaxed state is modulated in healthy and diseased muscles. © 2021 Craig and Padrón.


Roger Craig, Raúl Padrón. Structural basis of the super- and hyper-relaxed states of myosin II. The Journal of general physiology. 2022 Jan 03;154(1)

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PMID: 34889960

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