Comparative dynamics of tropomyosin in vertebrates and invertebrates

Jose K. James, Vikas Nanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Tropomyosin (Tpm) is an extended α-helical coiled-coil homodimer that regulates actinomyosin interactions in muscle. Molecular simulations of four Tpms, two from the vertebrate class Mammalia (rat and pig), and two from the invertebrate class Malacostraca (shrimp and lobster), showed that despite extensive sequence and structural homology across metazoans, dynamic behavior—particularly long-range structural fluctuations—were clearly distinct. Vertebrate Tpms were more flexible and sampled complex, multi-state conformational landscapes. Invertebrate Tpms were more rigid, sampling a highly constrained harmonic landscape. Filtering of trajectories by principle component analysis into essential subspaces showed significant overlap within but not between phyla. In vertebrate Tpms, hinge-regions decoupled long-range interhelical motions and suggested distinct domains. In contrast, crustacean Tpms did not exhibit long-range dynamic correlations—behaving more like a single rigid rod on the nanosecond time scale. These observations suggest there may be divergent mechanisms for Tpm binding to actin filaments, where conformational flexibility in mammalian Tpm allows a preorganized shape complementary to the filament surface, and where rigidity in the crustacean Tpm requires concerted bending and binding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
JournalProteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


  • coiled-coil
  • evolution
  • molecular dynamics
  • muscle contraction

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