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Open Access Research article

Myosin individualized: single nucleotide polymorphisms in energy transduction

Thomas P Burghardt12*, Kevin L Neff1, Eric D Wieben1 and Katalin Ajtai1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic Rochester, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

2 Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic Rochester, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:172  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-172

Published: 15 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Myosin performs ATP free energy transduction into mechanical work in the motor domain of the myosin heavy chain (MHC). Energy transduction is the definitive systemic feature of the myosin motor performed by coordinating in a time ordered sequence: ATP hydrolysis at the active site, actin affinity modulation at the actin binding site, and the lever-arm rotation of the power stroke. These functions are carried out by several conserved sub-domains within the motor domain. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) affect the MHC sequence of many isoforms expressed in striated muscle, smooth muscle, and non-muscle tissue. The purpose of this work is to provide a rationale for using SNPs as a functional genomics tool to investigate structurefunction relationships in myosin. In particular, to discover SNP distribution over the conserved sub-domains and surmise what it implies about sub-domain stability and criticality in the energy transduction mechanism.

Results

An automated routine identifying human nonsynonymous SNP amino acid missense substitutions for any MHC gene mined the NCBI SNP data base. The routine tested 22 MHC genes coding muscle and non-muscle isoforms and identified 89 missense mutation positions in the motor domain with 10 already implicated in heart disease and another 8 lacking sequence homology with a skeletal MHC isoform for which a crystallographic model is available. The remaining 71 SNP substitutions were found to be distributed over MHC with 22 falling outside identified functional sub-domains and 49 in or very near to myosin sub-domains assigned specific crucial functions in energy transduction. The latter includes the active site, the actin binding site, the rigid lever-arm, and regions facilitating their communication. Most MHC isoforms contained SNPs somewhere in the motor domain.

Conclusions

Several functional-crucial sub-domains are infiltrated by a large number of SNP substitution sites suggesting these domains are engineered by evolution to be too-robust to be disturbed by otherwise intrusive sequence changes. Two functional sub-domains are SNP-free or relatively SNP-deficient but contain many disease implicated mutants. These sub-domains are apparently highly sensitive to any missense substitution suggesting they have failed to evolve a robust sequence paradigm for performing their function.