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1.  Thirteen is enough: the myosins of Dictyostelium discoideum and their light chains 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:183.
Dictyostelium discoideum is one of the most famous model organisms for studying motile processes like cell movement, organelle transport, cytokinesis, and endocytosis. Members of the myosin superfamily, that move on actin filaments and power many of these tasks, are tripartite proteins consisting of a conserved catalytic domain followed by the neck region consisting of a different number of so-called IQ motifs for binding of light chains. The tails contain functional motifs that are responsible for the accomplishment of the different tasks in the cell. Unicellular organisms like yeasts contain three to five myosins while vertebrates express over 40 different myosin genes. Recently, the question has been raised how many myosins a simple multicellular organism like Dictyostelium would need to accomplish all the different motility-related tasks.
The analysis of the Dictyostelium genome revealed thirteen myosins of which three have not been described before. The phylogenetic analysis of the motor domains of the new myosins placed Myo1F to the class-I myosins and Myo5A to the class-V myosins. The third new myosin, an orphan myosin, has been named MyoG. It contains an N-terminal extension of over 400 residues, and a tail consisting of four IQ motifs and two MyTH4/FERM (myosin tail homology 4/band 4.1, ezrin, radixin, and moesin) tandem domains that are separated by a long region containing an SH3 (src homology 3) domain. In contrast to previous analyses, an extensive comparison with 126 class-VII, class-X, class-XV, and class-XXII myosins now showed that MyoI does not group into any of these classes and should not be used as a model for class-VII myosins.
The search for calmodulin related proteins revealed two further potential myosin light chains. One is a close homolog of the two EF-hand motifs containing MlcB, and the other, CBP14, phylogenetically groups to the ELC/RLC/calmodulin (essential light chain/regulatory light chain) branch of the tree.
Dictyostelium contains thirteen myosins together with 6–8 MLCs (myosin light chain) to assist in a variety of actin-based processes in the cell. Although they are homologous to myosins of higher eukaryotes, the myosins of Dictyostelium should be considered with care as models for specific functions of vertebrate myosins.
PMCID: PMC1634994  PMID: 16857047
2.  Dictyostelium mutants lacking multiple classic myosin I isoforms reveal combinations of shared and distinct functions  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1996;133(2):305-323.
Dictyostelium cells that lack the myoB isoform were previously shown to exhibit reduced efficiencies of phagocytosis and chemotactic aggregation ("streaming") and to crawl at about half the speed of wild- type cells. Of the four other Dictyostelium myosin I isoforms identified to date, myoC and myoD are the most similar to myoB in terms of tail domain sequence. Furthermore, we show here that myoC, like myoB and myoD, is concentrated in actin-rich cortical regions like the leading edge of migrating cells. To look for evidence of functional overlap between these isoforms, we analyzed myoB, myoC, and myoD single mutants, myoB/myoD double mutants, and myoB/myoC/myoD triple mutants, which were created using a combination of gene targeting techniques and constitutive expression of antisense RNA. With regard to the speed of locomoting, aggregation-stage cells, of the three single mutants, only the myoB mutant was significantly slower. Moreover, double and triple mutants were only slightly slower than the myoB single mutant. Consistent with this, the protein level of myoB alone rises dramatically during early development, suggesting that a special demand is placed on this one isoform when cells become highly motile. We also found, however, that the absolute amount of myoB protein in aggregation- stage cells is much higher than that for myoC and myoD, suggesting that what appears to be a case of nonoverlapping function could be the result of large differences in the amounts of functionally overlapping isoforms. Streaming assays also suggest that myoC plays a significant role in some aspect of motility other than cell speed. With regard to phagocytosis, both myoB and myoC single mutants exhibited significant reductions in initial rate, suggesting that these two isoforms perform nonredundant roles in supporting the phagocytic process. In triple mutants these defects were not additive, however. Finally, because double and triple mutants exhibited significant and progressive decreases in doubling times, we also measured the kinetics of fluid phase endocytic flux (uptake, transit time, efflux). Not only do all three isoforms contribute to this process, but their contributions are synergistic. While these results, when taken together, refute the simple notion that these three "classic" myosin I isoforms perform exclusively identical functions, they do reveal that all three share in supporting at least one cellular process (endocytosis), and they identify several other processes (motility, streaming, and phagocytosis) that are supported to a significant extent by either individual isoforms or various combinations of them.
PMCID: PMC2120808  PMID: 8609164
3.  The unconventional myosin encoded by the myoA gene plays a role in Dictyostelium motility. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1993;4(2):233-246.
The myoA gene of Dictyostelium is a member of a gene family of unconventional myosins. The myosin Is share homologous head and basic domains, but the myoA gene product lacks the glycine-, proline-, alanine-rich and src homology 3 domains typical of several of the other myosin Is. A mutant strain of Dictyostelium lacking a functional myoA gene was produced by gene targeting, and the motility of this strain in buffer and a spatial gradient of the chemoattractant cyclic AMP was analyzed by computer-assisted methods. The myoA- cells have a normal elongate morphology in buffer but exhibit a decrease in the instantaneous velocity of cellular translocation, an increase in the frequency of lateral pseudopod formation, and an increase in turning. In a spatial gradient, in which the frequency of pseudopod formation is depressed, myoA- cells exhibit positive chemotaxis but still turn several times more frequently than control cells. These results demonstrate that the other members of the unconventional myosin family do not fully compensate for the loss of functional myoA gene product. Surprisingly, the phenotype of the myoA- strain closely resembles that of the myoB- strain, suggesting that both play a role in the frequency of pseudopod formation and turning during cellular translocation.
PMCID: PMC300918  PMID: 8382977
4.  Biochemical and bioinformatic analysis of the MYO19 motor domain 
Cytoskeleton (Hoboken, N.J.)  2013;70(5):281-295.
Mitochondrial dynamics are dependent on both the microtubule and actin cytoskeletal systems. Evidence for the involvement of myosin motors has been described in many systems, and until recently a candidate mitochondrial transport motor had not been described in vertebrates. Myosin-XIX (MYO19) was predicted to represent a novel class of myosin and had previously been shown to bind to mitochondria and increase mitochondrial network dynamics when ectopically expressed. Our analyses comparing ∼40 MYO19 orthologs to ∼2000 other myosin motor domain sequences identified instances of homology well-conserved within class XIX myosins that were not found in other myosin classes, suggesting MYO19-specific mechanochemistry. Steady-state biochemical analyses of the MYO19 motor domain indicate that Homo sapiens MYO19 is a functional motor. Insect cell-expressed constructs bound calmodulin as a light chain at the predicted stoichiometry and displayed actin-activated ATPase activity. MYO19 constructs demonstrated high actin affinity in the presence of ATP in actin-cosedimentation assays, and translocated actin filaments in gliding assays. Expression of GFP-MYO19 containing a mutation impairing ATPase activity did not enhance mitochondrial network dynamics, as occurs with wild-type MYO19, indicating that myosin motor activity is required for mitochondrial motility. The measured biochemical properties of MYO19 suggest it is a high-duty ratio motor that could serve to transport mitochondria or anchor mitochondria, depending upon the cellular microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC3927398  PMID: 23568824
actin-based motility; myosin biochemistry; mitochondrial dynamics; ATPase; sequence analysis
5.  Primary structure and cellular localization of chicken brain myosin-V (p190), an unconventional myosin with calmodulin light chains 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1992;119(6):1541-1557.
Recent biochemical studies of p190, a calmodulin (CM)-binding protein purified from vertebrate brain, have demonstrated that this protein, purified as a complex with bound CM, shares a number of properties with myosins (Espindola, F. S., E. M. Espreafico, M. V. Coelho, A. R. Martins, F. R. C. Costa, M. S. Mooseker, and R. E. Larson. 1992. J. Cell Biol. 118:359-368). To determine whether or not p190 was a member of the myosin family of proteins, a set of overlapping cDNAs encoding the full-length protein sequence of chicken brain p190 was isolated and sequenced. Verification that the deduced primary structure was that of p190 was demonstrated through microsequence analysis of a cyanogen bromide peptide generated from chick brain p190. The deduced primary structure of chicken brain p190 revealed that this 1,830-amino acid (aa) 212,509-D) protein is a member of a novel structural class of unconventional myosins that includes the gene products encoded by the dilute locus of mouse and the MYO2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We have named the p190-CM complex "myosin-V" based on the results of a detailed sequence comparison of the head domains of 29 myosin heavy chains (hc), which has revealed that this myosin, based on head structure, is the fifth of six distinct structural classes of myosin to be described thus far. Like the presumed products of the mouse dilute and yeast MYO2 genes, the head domain of chicken myosin-V hc (aa 1-764) is linked to a "neck" domain (aa 765-909) consisting of six tandem repeats of an approximately 23-aa "IQ-motif." All known myosins contain at least one such motif at their head-tail junctions; these IQ-motifs may function as calmodulin or light chain binding sites. The tail domain of chicken myosin-V consists of an initial 511 aa predicted to form several segments of coiled-coil alpha helix followed by a terminal 410-aa globular domain (aa, 1,421-1,830). Interestingly, a portion of the tail domain (aa, 1,094-1,830) shares 58% amino acid sequence identity with a 723-aa protein from mouse brain reported to be a glutamic acid decarboxylase. The neck region of chicken myosin-V, which contains the IQ-motifs, was demonstrated to contain the binding sites for CM by analyzing CM binding to bacterially expressed fusion proteins containing the head, neck, and tail domains. Immunolocalization of myosin-V in brain and in cultured cells revealed an unusual distribution for this myosin in both neurons and nonneuronal cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC2289763  PMID: 1469047
6.  Myosin-X functions in polarized epithelial cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(9):1675-1687.
Myosin-X, an unconventional myosin that has been studied primarily in fibroblast-like cells, has been shown to have important functions in polarized epithelial cell junction formation, regulation of paracellular permeability, and epithelial morphogenesis.
Myosin-X (Myo10) is an unconventional myosin that localizes to the tips of filopodia and has critical functions in filopodia. Although Myo10 has been studied primarily in nonpolarized, fibroblast-like cells, Myo10 is expressed in vivo in many epithelia-rich tissues, such as kidney. In this study, we investigate the localization and functions of Myo10 in polarized epithelial cells, using Madin-Darby canine kidney II cells as a model system. Calcium-switch experiments demonstrate that, during junction assembly, green fluorescent protein–Myo10 localizes to lateral membrane cell–cell contacts and to filopodia-like structures imaged by total internal reflection fluorescence on the basal surface. Knockdown of Myo10 leads to delayed recruitment of E-cadherin and ZO-1 to junctions, as well as a delay in tight junction barrier formation, as indicated by a delay in the development of peak transepithelial electrical resistance (TER). Although Myo10 knockdown cells eventually mature into monolayers with normal TER, these monolayers do exhibit increased paracellular permeability to fluorescent dextrans. Importantly, knockdown of Myo10 leads to mitotic spindle misorientation, and in three-dimensional culture, Myo10 knockdown cysts exhibit defects in lumen formation. Together these results reveal that Myo10 functions in polarized epithelial cells in junction formation, regulation of paracellular permeability, and epithelial morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3338435  PMID: 22419816
7.  Excessive Myosin Activity in Mbs Mutants Causes Photoreceptor Movement Out of the Drosophila Eye Disc Epithelium 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(7):3285-3295.
Neuronal cells must extend a motile growth cone while maintaining the cell body in its original position. In migrating cells, myosin contraction provides the driving force that pulls the rear of the cell toward the leading edge. We have characterized the function of myosin light chain phosphatase, which down-regulates myosin activity, in Drosophila photoreceptor neurons. Mutations in the gene encoding the myosin binding subunit of this enzyme cause photoreceptors to drop out of the eye disc epithelium and move toward and through the optic stalk. We show that this phenotype is due to excessive phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain Spaghetti squash rather than another potential substrate, Moesin, and that it requires the nonmuscle myosin II heavy chain Zipper. Myosin binding subunit mutant cells continue to express apical epithelial markers and do not undergo ectopic apical constriction. In addition, mutant cells in the wing disc remain within the epithelium and differentiate abnormal wing hairs. We suggest that excessive myosin activity in photoreceptor neurons may pull the cell bodies toward the growth cones in a process resembling normal cell migration.
PMCID: PMC452583  PMID: 15075368
8.  Association of six YFP-myosin XI-tail fusions with mobile plant cell organelles 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:6.
Myosins are molecular motors that carry cargo on actin filaments in eukaryotic cells. Seventeen myosin genes have been identified in the nuclear genome of Arabidopsis. The myosin genes can be divided into two plant-specific subfamilies, class VIII with four members and class XI with 13 members. Class XI myosins are related to animal and fungal myosin class V that are responsible for movement of particular vesicles and organelles. Organelle localization of only one of the 13 Arabidopsis myosin XI (myosin XI-6; At MYA2), which is found on peroxisomes, has so far been reported. Little information is available concerning the remaining 12 class XI myosins.
We investigated 6 of the 13 class XI Arabidopsis myosins. cDNAs corresponding to the tail region of 6 myosin genes were generated and incorporated into a vector to encode YFP-myosin tail fusion proteins lacking the motor domain. Chimeric genes incorporating tail regions of myosin XI-5 (At MYA1), myosin XI-6 (At MYA2), myosin XI-8 (At XI-B), myosin XI-15 (At XI-I), myosin XI-16 (At XI-J) and myosin XI-17 (At XI-K) were expressed transiently. All YFP-myosin-tail fusion proteins were targeted to small organelles ranging in size from 0.5 to 3.0 μm. Despite the absence of a motor domain, the fluorescently-labeled organelles were motile in most cells. Tail cropping experiments demonstrated that the coiled-coil region was required for specific localization and shorter tail regions were inadequate for targeting. Myosin XI-6 (At MYA2), previously reported to localize to peroxisomes by immunofluorescence, labeled both peroxisomes and vesicles when expressed as a YFP-tail fusion. None of the 6 YFP-myosin tail fusions interacted with chloroplasts, and only one YFP-tail fusion appeared to sometimes co-localize with fluorescent proteins targeted to Golgi and mitochondria.
6 myosin XI tails, extending from the coiled-coil region to the C-terminus, label specific vesicles and/or organelles when transiently expressed as YFP fusions in plant cells. Although comparable constructs lacking the motor domain result in a dominant negative effect on organelle motility in animal systems, the plant organelles remained motile. YFP-myosin tail fusions provide specific labeling for vesicles of unknown composition, whose identity can be investigated in future studies.
PMCID: PMC1802837  PMID: 17288617
9.  A Small-Molecule Inhibitor of T. gondii Motility Induces the Posttranslational Modification of Myosin Light Chain-1 and Inhibits Myosin Motor Activity 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(1):e1000720.
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that enters cells by a process of active penetration. Host cell penetration and parasite motility are driven by a myosin motor complex consisting of four known proteins: TgMyoA, an unconventional Class XIV myosin; TgMLC1, a myosin light chain; and two membrane-associated proteins, TgGAP45 and TgGAP50. Little is known about how the activity of the myosin motor complex is regulated. Here, we show that treatment of parasites with a recently identified small-molecule inhibitor of invasion and motility results in a rapid and irreversible change in the electrophoretic mobility of TgMLC1. While the precise nature of the TgMLC1 modification has not yet been established, it was mapped to the peptide Val46-Arg59. To determine if the TgMLC1 modification is responsible for the motility defect observed in parasites after compound treatment, the activity of myosin motor complexes from control and compound-treated parasites was compared in an in vitro motility assay. TgMyoA motor complexes containing the modified TgMLC1 showed significantly decreased motor activity compared to control complexes. This change in motor activity likely accounts for the motility defects seen in the parasites after compound treatment and provides the first evidence, in any species, that the mechanical activity of Class XIV myosins can be modulated by posttranslational modifications to their associated light chains.
Author Summary
Toxoplasma gondii and related parasites within the Phylum Apicomplexa are collectively responsible for a great deal of human disease and death worldwide. The ability of apicomplexan parasites to invade cells of their hosts, disseminate through tissues and cause disease depends critically on parasite motility. Motility is driven by a complex of proteins that is well conserved within the phylum; however, very little is known about how the unconventional myosin motor protein at the heart of this motility machinery is regulated. T. gondii serves as a powerful model system for studying apicomplexan motile mechanisms. We show here that a recently identified pharmacological inhibitor of T. gondii motility induces a posttranslational modification of TgMLC1, a protein that binds to the myosin motor protein, TgMyoA. The compound-induced modification of TgMLC1 is associated with a decrease in TgMyoA mechanical activity. These data provide the first glimpse into how TgMyoA is regulated and how a change in the activity of the T. gondii myosin motor complex can affect the motility and infectivity of this important human pathogen.
PMCID: PMC2800044  PMID: 20084115
10.  Cloning and Distribution of Myosin 3B in the Mouse Retina: Differential Distribution in Cone Outer Segments 
Experimental eye research  2009;89(2):224-237.
Class III myosins are important for the function and survival of photoreceptors and ciliary hair cells. Although vertebrates possess two class III myosin genes, myo3A and myo3B, recent studies have focused on Myo3A because mutations in the human gene are implicated in progressive hearing loss. Myo3B may compensate for defects in Myo3A, yet little is known about its distribution and function. This study focuses on Myo3B expression in the mouse retina. We cloned two variants of myo3B from mouse retina and determined that they are expressed early in retinal development. In this study we show for the first time in a mammal that both Myo3B and Myo3A proteins are present in inner segments of all photoreceptors. Myo3B is also present in outer segments of S opsin-immunoreactive cones but not M opsin dominant cones. Myo3B is also detected in rare cells of the inner nuclear layer and some ganglion cells. Myo3B may have diverse roles in retinal neurons. In photoreceptor inner segments Myo3B is positioned appropriately to prevent photoreceptor loss of function caused by Myo3A defects.
PMCID: PMC2782900  PMID: 19332056
Photoreceptors; blue cones; ganglion cells; immunocytochemistry; Myosin3A
11.  Synthetic lethality screen identifies a novel yeast myosin I gene (MYO5): myosin I proteins are required for polarization of the actin cytoskeleton 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1996;133(6):1277-1291.
The organization of the actin cytoskeleton plays a critical role in cell physiology in motile and nonmotile organisms. Nonetheless, the function of the actin based motor molecules, members of the myosin superfamily, is not well understood. Deletion of MYO3, a yeast gene encoding a "classic" myosin I, has no detectable phenotype. We used a synthetic lethality screen to uncover genes whose functions might overlap with those of MYO3 and identified a second yeast myosin 1 gene, MYO5. MYO5 shows 86 and 62% identity to MYO3 across the motor and non- motor regions. Both genes contain an amino terminal motor domain, a neck region containing two IQ motifs, and a tail domain consisting of a positively charged region, a proline-rich region containing sequences implicated in ATP-insensitive actin binding, and an SH3 domain. Although myo5 deletion mutants have no detectable phenotype, yeast strains deleted for both MYO3 and MYO5 have severe defects in growth and actin cytoskeletal organization. Double deletion mutants also display phenotypes associated with actin disorganization including accumulation of intracellular membranes and vesicles, cell rounding, random bud site selection, sensitivity to high osmotic strength, and low pH as well as defects in chitin and cell wall deposition, invertase secretion, and fluid phase endocytosis. Indirect immunofluorescence studies using epitope-tagged Myo5p indicate that Myo5p is localized at actin patches. These results indicate that MYO3 and MYO5 encode classical myosin I proteins with overlapping functions and suggest a role for Myo3p and Myo5p in organization of the actin cytoskeleton of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
PMCID: PMC2120899  PMID: 8682864
12.  Functional characterization of mutations in the myosin Vb gene associated with microvillus inclusion disease 
Microvillus inclusion disease (MVID) is a rare autosomal recessive enteropathy characterized by intractable diarrhea and malabsorption. Recently, various MYO5B gene mutations have been identified in MVID patients. Interestingly, several MVID patients showed only a MYO5B mutation in one allele (heterozygous) or no mutations in the MYO5B gene, illustrating the need to further functionally characterize the cell biological effects of the MYO5B mutations.
The genomic DNA of nine patients diagnosed with microvillus inclusion disease was screened for MYO5B mutations, and qPCR and immunohistochemistry on the material of two patients was performed to investigate resultant cellular consequences.
We demonstrate for the first time that MYO5B mutations can be correlated with altered myosin Vb mRNA expression and with an aberrant subcellular distribution of the myosin Vb protein. Moreover, we demonstrate that the typical and myosin Vb–controlled accumulation of rab11a-and FIP5-positive recycling endosomes in the apical cytoplasm of the cells is abolished in MVID enterocytes, which is indicative for altered myosin Vb function. Also, we report 8 novel MYO5B mutations in 9 MVID patients of various etnic backgrounds, including compound heterozygous mutations.
Our functional analysis indicate that MYO5B mutations can be correlated with an aberrant subcellular distribution of the myosin Vb protein and apical recycling endosomes which, together with the additional compound heterozygous mutations, significantly strengthen the link between MYO5B and MVID.
PMCID: PMC3058815  PMID: 21206382
microvillus inclusion disease; myosin Vb; apical recycling endosome; brush border
13.  Myosin-X is critical for migratory ability of Xenopus cranial neural crest cells 
Developmental biology  2009;335(1):132-142.
The neural crest is a highly migratory cell population, unique to vertebrates, that forms much of the craniofacial skeleton and peripheral nervous system. In exploring the cell biological basis underlying this behavior, we have identified an unconventional myosin, myosin-X (Myo10) that is required for neural crest migration. Myo10 is highly expressed in both premigratory and migrating cranial neural crest (CNC) cells in Xenopus embryos. Disrupting Myo10 expression using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides leads to impaired neural crest migration, but only a slight delay in induction. In vivo grafting experiments reveal that Myo10-depleted CNC cells migrate a shorter distance and fail to segregate into distinct migratory streams. Finally, in vitro cultures and cell dissociation-reaggregation assays suggest that Myo10 may be critical for production of cell protrusions and cell-cell adhesion. These results demonstrate an essential role for Myo10 in normal cranial neural crest migration and suggest a link to cell-cell interactions and formation of processes.
PMCID: PMC3991693  PMID: 19712673
Myosin-X; cranial neural crest; migration; adhesion
14.  A role for myosin IXb, a motor–RhoGAP chimera, in epithelial wound healing and tight junction regulation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(13):2468-2480.
Myo9b is a motor–RhoGAP chimera that has been implicated in inflammatory bowel disease. Findings suggest that Myo9b is essential during both collective and individual wound-induced cell migration. It is also important for maintaining tight junction barrier integrity.
Polymorphisms in the gene encoding the heavy chain of myosin IXb (Myo9b) have been linked to several forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Given that Myo9b contains a RhoGTPase-activating protein domain within its tail, it may play key roles in Rho-mediated actin cytoskeletal modifications critical to intestinal barrier function. In wounded monolayers of the intestinal epithelial cell line Caco2BBe (BBe), Myo9b localizes to the extreme leading edge of lamellipodia of migrating cells. BBe cells exhibiting loss of Myo9b expression with RNA interference or Myo9b C-terminal dominant-negative (DN) tail-tip expression lack lamellipodia, fail to migrate into the wound, and form stress fiber–like arrays of actin at the free edges of cells facing the wound. These cells also exhibit disruption of tight junction (TJ) protein localization, including ZO-1, occludin, and claudin-1. Torsional motility and junctional permeability to dextran are greatly increased in cells expressing DN-tail-tip. Of interest, this effect is propagated to neighboring cells. Consistent with a role for Myo9b in regulating levels of active Rho, localization of both RhoGTP and myosin light chain phosphorylation corresponds to Myo9b-knockdown regions of BBe monolayers. These data reveal critical roles for Myo9b during epithelial wound healing and maintenance of TJ integrity—key functions that may be altered in patients with Myo9b-linked IBD.
PMCID: PMC3386211  PMID: 22573889
15.  Myosin VIIA, Important for Human Auditory Function, Is Necessary for Drosophila Auditory Organ Development 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(5):e2115.
Myosin VIIA (MyoVIIA) is an unconventional myosin necessary for vertebrate audition [1]–[5]. Human auditory transduction occurs in sensory hair cells with a staircase-like arrangement of apical protrusions called stereocilia. In these hair cells, MyoVIIA maintains stereocilia organization [6]. Severe mutations in the Drosophila MyoVIIA orthologue, crinkled (ck), are semi-lethal [7] and lead to deafness by disrupting antennal auditory organ (Johnston's Organ, JO) organization [8]. ck/MyoVIIA mutations result in apical detachment of auditory transduction units (scolopidia) from the cuticle that transmits antennal vibrations as mechanical stimuli to JO.
Principal Findings
Using flies expressing GFP-tagged NompA, a protein required for auditory organ organization in Drosophila, we examined the role of ck/MyoVIIA in JO development and maintenance through confocal microscopy and extracellular electrophysiology. Here we show that ck/MyoVIIA is necessary early in the developing antenna for initial apical attachment of the scolopidia to the articulating joint. ck/MyoVIIA is also necessary to maintain scolopidial attachment throughout adulthood. Moreover, in the adult JO, ck/MyoVIIA genetically interacts with the non-muscle myosin II (through its regulatory light chain protein and the myosin binding subunit of myosin II phosphatase). Such genetic interactions have not previously been observed in scolopidia. These factors are therefore candidates for modulating MyoVIIA activity in vertebrates.
Our findings indicate that MyoVIIA plays evolutionarily conserved roles in auditory organ development and maintenance in invertebrates and vertebrates, enhancing our understanding of auditory organ development and function, as well as providing significant clues for future research.
PMCID: PMC2362849  PMID: 18461180
16.  Calcium-dependent phosphorylation alters class XIVa myosin function in the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(17):2579-2591.
Myosin A, an unconventional class XIV myosin of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, undergoes calcium-dependent phosphorylation, providing a mechanism by which the parasite can regulate motility-based processes such as escape from the infected host cell at the end of the parasite's lytic cycle.
Class XIVa myosins comprise a unique group of myosin motor proteins found in apicomplexan parasites, including those that cause malaria and toxoplasmosis. The founding member of the class XIVa family, Toxoplasma gondii myosin A (TgMyoA), is a monomeric unconventional myosin that functions at the parasite periphery to control gliding motility, host cell invasion, and host cell egress. How the motor activity of TgMyoA is regulated during these critical steps in the parasite's lytic cycle is unknown. We show here that a small-molecule enhancer of T. gondii motility and invasion (compound 130038) causes an increase in parasite intracellular calcium levels, leading to a calcium-dependent increase in TgMyoA phosphorylation. Mutation of the major sites of phosphorylation altered parasite motile behavior upon compound 130038 treatment, and parasites expressing a nonphosphorylatable mutant myosin egressed from host cells more slowly in response to treatment with calcium ionophore. These data demonstrate that TgMyoA undergoes calcium-dependent phosphorylation, which modulates myosin-driven processes in this important human pathogen.
PMCID: PMC4148248  PMID: 24989796
17.  myoA of Aspergillus nidulans encodes an essential myosin I required for secretion and polarized growth 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1995;128(4):577-587.
We have identified and cloned a novel essential myosin I in Aspergillus nidulans called myoA. The 1,249-amino acid predicted polypeptide encoded by myoA is most similar to the amoeboid myosins I. Using affinity-purified antibodies against the unique myosin I carboxyl terminus, we have determined that MYOA is enriched at growing hyphal tips. Disruption of myoA by homologous recombination resulted in a diploid strain heterozygous for the myoA gene disruption. We can recover haploids with an intact myoA gene from these strains, but never haploids that are myoA disrupted. These data indicated that myoA encodes an essential myosin I, and this has allowed us to use a unique approach to studying myosin I function. We have developed conditionally null myoA strains in which myoA expression is regulated by the alcA alcohol dehydrogenase promoter. A conditionally lethal strain germinated on inducing medium grows as wild type, displaying polarized growth by apical extension. However, growth of the same myoA mutant strain on repressing medium results in enlarged cells incapable of hyphal extension, and these cells eventually die. Under repressing conditions, this strain also displays reduced levels of secreted acid phosphatase. The mutant phenotype indicates that myoA plays a critical role in polarized growth and secretion.
PMCID: PMC2199891  PMID: 7860631
18.  Hsp90 Protein in Fission Yeast Swo1p and UCS Protein Rng3p Facilitate Myosin II Assembly and Function 
Eukaryotic Cell  2005;4(3):567-576.
The F-actin-based molecular motor myosin II is involved in a variety of cellular processes such as muscle contraction, cell motility, and cytokinesis. In recent years, a family of myosin II-specific cochaperones of the UCS family has been identified from work with yeasts, fungi, worms, and humans. Biochemical analyses have shown that a complex of Hsp90 and the Caenorhabditis elegans UCS domain protein UNC-45 prevent myosin head aggregation, thereby allowing it to assume a proper structure. Here we demonstrate that a temperature-sensitive mutant of the fission yeast Hsp90 (Swo1p), swo1-w1, is defective in actomyosin ring assembly at the restrictive temperature. Two alleles of swo1, swo1-w1 and swo1-26, showed synthetic lethality with a specific mutant allele of the fission yeast type II myosin head, myo2-E1, but not with two other mutant alleles of myo2 or with mutations affecting 14 other genes important for cytokinesis. swo1-w1 also showed a strong genetic interaction with rng3-65, a gene encoding a mutation in the fission yeast UCS domain protein Rng3p, which has previously been shown to be important for myosin II assembly. A similar deleterious effect was found when myo2-E1, swo1-w1, and rng3-65 were pharmacologically treated with geldanamycin to partially inhibit Hsp90 function. Interestingly, Swo1p-green fluorescent protein is detected at the improperly assembled actomyosin rings in myo2-E1 but not in a wild-type strain. Yeast two-hybrid and coimmunoprecipitation analyses verified interactions between Rng3p and the myosin head domain as well as interactions between Rng3p and Swo1p. Our analyses of Myo2p, Swo1p, and the UCS domain protein Rng3p establish that Swo1p and Rng3p collaborate in vivo to modulate myosin II function.
PMCID: PMC1087793  PMID: 15755919
19.  Crystal Structure of Calcium Binding Protein-5 from Entamoeba histolytica and Its Involvement in Initiation of Phagocytosis of Human Erythrocytes 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(12):e1004532.
Entamoeba histolytica is the etiological agent of human amoebic colitis and liver abscess, and causes a high level of morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in developing countries. There are a number of studies that have shown a crucial role for Ca2+ and its binding protein in amoebic biology. EhCaBP5 is one of the EF hand calcium-binding proteins of E. histolytica. We have determined the crystal structure of EhCaBP5 at 1.9 Å resolution in the Ca2+-bound state, which shows an unconventional mode of Ca2+ binding involving coordination to a closed yet canonical EF-hand motif. Structurally, EhCaBP5 is more similar to the essential light chain of myosin than to Calmodulin despite its somewhat greater sequence identity with Calmodulin. This structure-based analysis suggests that EhCaBP5 could be a light chain of myosin. Surface plasmon resonance studies confirmed this hypothesis, and in particular showed that EhCaBP5 interacts with the IQ motif of myosin 1B in calcium independent manner. It also appears from modelling of the EhCaBP5-IQ motif complex that EhCaBP5 undergoes a structural change in order to bind the IQ motif of myosin. This specific interaction was further confirmed by the observation that EhCaBP5 and myosin 1B are colocalized in E. histolytica during phagocytic cup formation. Immunoprecipitation of EhCaBP5 from total E. histolytica cellular extract also pulls out myosin 1B and this interaction was confirmed to be Ca2+ independent. Confocal imaging of E. histolytica showed that EhCaBP5 and myosin 1B are part of phagosomes. Overexpression of EhCaBP5 increases slight rate (∼20%) of phagosome formation, while suppression reduces the rate drastically (∼55%). Taken together, these experiments indicate that EhCaBP5 is likely to be the light chain of myosin 1B. Interestingly, EhCaBP5 is not present in the phagosome after its formation suggesting EhCaBP5 may be playing a regulatory role.
Author Summary
Entamoeba histolytica is the etiologic agent of amoebiasis, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries. The genome of this organism encodes 27 EF-hand containing calcium binding proteins suggesting an intricate Ca2+ signalling system that plays crucial role in phagocytosis and pathogenesis. Calcium binding protein-5 (EhCaBP5) is one of these CaBPs that displays sequence similarity with Calmodulin (CaM) but has only two possible calcium binding EF-hand loops in two separate domains. Interestingly crystal structure of EhCaPB5 showed more structural similarity with essential light chain (ELC) of myosin than that of CaM. The binding studies of EhCaBP5 with IQ motif peptides of myosins, showed that it interacts with IQ motif of unconventional Myosin IB. A number of experiments were carried out to show that EhCaBP5 indeed binds myosin IB and that this binding is Ca2+ independent. We also show here that EhCaBP5 participates in erythrophagocytosis and that its role in phagocytosis is different from that of EhCaBP3, another myosin 1B interacting calcium binding protein of E. histolytica. Our results presented here and in a number of other reports point towards a unique phagocytic pathway involving a number of calcium binding proteins in E. histolytica.
PMCID: PMC4263763  PMID: 25502654
20.  Rab11A-Controlled Assembly of the Inner Membrane Complex Is Required for Completion of Apicomplexan Cytokinesis 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(1):e1000270.
The final step during cell division is the separation of daughter cells, a process that requires the coordinated delivery and assembly of new membrane to the cleavage furrow. While most eukaryotic cells replicate by binary fission, replication of apicomplexan parasites involves the assembly of daughters (merozoites/tachyzoites) within the mother cell, using the so-called Inner Membrane Complex (IMC) as a scaffold. After de novo synthesis of the IMC and biogenesis or segregation of new organelles, daughters bud out of the mother cell to invade new host cells. Here, we demonstrate that the final step in parasite cell division involves delivery of new plasma membrane to the daughter cells, in a process requiring functional Rab11A. Importantly, Rab11A can be found in association with Myosin-Tail-Interacting-Protein (MTIP), also known as Myosin Light Chain 1 (MLC1), a member of a 4-protein motor complex called the glideosome that is known to be crucial for parasite invasion of host cells. Ablation of Rab11A function results in daughter parasites having an incompletely formed IMC that leads to a block at a late stage of cell division. A similar defect is observed upon inducible expression of a myosin A tail-only mutant. We propose a model where Rab11A-mediated vesicular traffic driven by an MTIP-Myosin motor is necessary for IMC maturation and to deliver new plasma membrane to daughter cells in order to complete cell division.
Author Summary
Apicomplexan parasites are unusual in that they replicate by assembling daughter parasites within the mother cell. This involves the ordered assembly of an Inner Membrane Complex (IMC), a scaffold consisting of flattened membrane cisternae and a subpellicular network made up of microtubules and scaffold proteins. The IMC begins to form at the onset of replication, but its maturation occurs at the final stage of cytokinesis (the last step during cell division) upon the addition of motor (glideosome) components such as GAP45 (Glideosome Associated Protein), Myosin A (MyoA), and Myosin-Tail-Interacting-Protein (MTIP, also known as Myosin Light Chain 1) that are necessary to drive the gliding motility required for parasite invasion. We demonstrate that Rab11A regulates not only delivery of new plasmamembrane to daughter cells, but, importantly, also correct IMC formation. We show that Rab11A physically interacts with MTIP/MLC1, implicating unconventional myosin(s) in both cytokinesis and IMC maturation, and, consistently, overexpression of a MyoA tail-only mutant generates a default similar to that which we observe upon Rab11A ablation. We propose a model where Rab11A-mediated vesicular traffic is required for the delivery of new plasma membrane to daughter cells and for the maturation of the IMC in order to complete cell division.
PMCID: PMC2622761  PMID: 19165333
21.  Glycine 699 is pivotal for the motor activity of skeletal muscle myosin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1996;134(4):895-909.
Myosin couples ATP hydrolysis to the translocation of actin filaments to power many forms of cellular motility. A striking feature of the structure of the muscle myosin head domain is a 9-nm long "lever arm" that has been postulated to produce a 5-10-nm power stroke. This motion must be coupled to conformational changes around the actin and nucleotide binding sites. The linkage of these sites to the lever arm has been analyzed by site-directed mutagenesis of a conserved glycine residue (G699) found in a bend joining two helices containing the highly reactive and mobile cysteine residues, SH1 and SH2. Alanine mutagenesis of this glycine (G699A) dramatically alters the motor activity of skeletal muscle myosin, inhibiting the velocity of actin filament movement by > 100-fold. Analysis of the defect in the G699A mutant myosin is consistent with a marked slowing of the transition within the motor domain from a strong binding to a weak binding interaction with actin. This result is interpreted in terms of the role of this residue (G699) as a pivot point for motion of the lever arm. The recombinant myosin used in these experiments has been produced in a unique expression system. A shuttle vector containing a regulated muscle-specific promoter has been developed for the stable expression of recombinant myosin in C2C12 cells. The vector uses the promoter/enhancer region, the first two and the last five exons of an embryonic rat myosin gene, to regulate the expression of an embryonic chicken muscle myosin cDNA. Stable cell lines transfected with this vector express the unique genetically engineered myosin after differentiation into myotubes. The myosin assembles into myofibrils, copurifies with the endogenous myosin, and contains a complement of muscle-specific myosin light chains. The functional activity of the recombinant myosin is readily analyzed with an in vitro motility assay using a species-specific anti-S2 mAb to selectively assay the recombinant protein. This expression system has facilitated manipulation and analysis of the skeletal muscle myosin motor domain and is also amenable to a wide range of structure-function experiments addressing questions unique to the muscle-specific cytoarchitecture and myosin isoforms.
PMCID: PMC2120956  PMID: 8769415
22.  Immunofluorescence localization of the unconventional myosin, Myo2p, and the putative kinesin-related protein, Smy1p, to the same regions of polarized growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;125(4):825-842.
Myo2 protein (Myo2p), an unconventional myosin in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been implicated in polarized growth and secretion by studies of the temperature-sensitive myo2-66 mutant. Overexpression of Smy1p, which by sequence is a kinesin-related protein, can partially compensate for defects in the myo2 mutant (Lillie, S. H. and S. S. Brown, 1992. Nature (Lond.). 356:358-361). We have now immunolocalized Smy1p and Myo2p. Both are concentrated in regions of active growth, as caps at incipient bud sites and on small buds, at the mother-bud neck just before cell separation, and in mating cells as caps on shmoo tips and at the fusion bridge of zygotes. Double labeling of cells with either Myo2p or Smy1p antibody plus phalloidin was used to compare the localization of Smy1p and Myo2p to actin, and by extrapolation, to each other. These studies confirmed that Myo2p and Smy1p colocalize, and are concentrated in the same general regions of the cell as actin spots. However, neither colocalizes with actin. We noted a correlation in the behavior of Myo2p, Smy1p, and actin, but not microtubules, under a number of circumstances. In cdc4 and cdc11 mutants, which produce multiple buds, Myo2p and Smy1p caps were found only in the subset of buds that had accumulations of actin. Mutations in actin or secretory genes perturb actin, Smy1p and Myo2p localization. The rearrangements of Myo2p and Smy1p correlate temporally with those of actin spots during the cell cycle, and upon temperature and osmotic shift. In contrast, microtubules are not grossly affected by these perturbations. Although wild-type Myo2p localization does not require Smy1p, Myo2p staining is brighter when SMY1 is overexpressed. The myo2 mutant, when shifted to restrictive temperature, shows a permanent loss in Myo2p localization and actin polarization, both of which can be restored by SMY1 overexpression. However, the lethality of MYO2 deletion is not overcome by SMY1 overexpression. We noted that the myo2 mutant can recover from osmotic shift (unlike actin mutants; Novick, P., and D. Botstein. 1985. Cell. 40:405-416). We have also determined that the myo2-66 allele encodes a Lys instead of a Glu at position 511, which lies at an actin-binding face in the motor domain.
PMCID: PMC2120074  PMID: 8188749
23.  Expression and localization of myosin-1d in the developing nervous system 
Brain Research  2012;1440:9-22.
Myosin-1d is a monomeric actin-based motor found in a wide range of tissues, but highly expressed in the nervous system. Previous microarray studies suggest that myosin-1d is found in oligodendrocytes where transcripts are upregulated during the maturation of these cells. Myosin-1d was also identified as a component of myelin-containing subcellular fractions in proteomic studies and mutations in MYO1D have been linked to autism. Despite the potential implications of these previous studies, there is little information on the expression and localization of myosin-1d in the developing nervous system. Therefore, we analyzed myosin-1d expression patterns in the peripheral and central nervous systems during postnatal development. In mouse sciatic nerve, myosin-1d is expressed along the axon and in the ensheathing myelin compartment. Analysis of mouse cerebellum prior to myelination at day 3 reveal myosin-1d is present in the Purkinje cell layer, granule cell layer, and region of the cerebellar nuclei. Upon the onset of myelination, myosin-1d enrichment expands along axonal tracts, while still present in the Purkinje and granule cell layers. However, myosin-1d was undetectable in oligodendrocyte progenitor cells at early and late time points. We also show that myosin-1d interacts and is co-expressed with aspartoacylase, an enzyme that plays a key role in fatty acid synthesis throughout the nervous system. Together, these studies provide a foundation for understanding the role of myosin-1d in neurodevelopment and neurological disorders.
PMCID: PMC3278530  PMID: 22284616
cytoskeleton; actin; myelin; cerebellum; aspartoacylase
24.  Genome-wide identification, splicing, and expression analysis of the myosin gene family in maize (Zea mays) 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;65(4):923-938.
The actin-based myosin system is essential for the organization and dynamics of the endomembrane system and transport network in plant cells. Plants harbour two unique myosin groups, class VIII and class XI, and the latter is structurally and functionally analogous to the animal and fungal class V myosin. Little is known about myosins in grass, even though grass includes several agronomically important cereal crops. Here, we identified 14 myosin genes from the genome of maize (Zea mays). The relatively larger sizes of maize myosin genes are due to their much longer introns, which are abundant in transposable elements. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that maize myosin genes could be classified into class VIII and class XI, with three and 11 members, respectively. Apart from subgroup XI-F, the remaining subgroups were duplicated at least in one analysed lineage, and the duplication events occurred more extensively in Arabidopsis than in maize. Only two pairs of maize myosins were generated from segmental duplication. Expression analysis revealed that most maize myosin genes were expressed universally, whereas a few members (XI-1, -6, and -11) showed an anther-specific pattern, and many underwent extensive alternative splicing. We also found a short transcript at the O1 locus, which conceptually encoded a headless myosin that most likely functions at the transcriptional level rather than via a dominant-negative mechanism at the translational level. Together, these data provide significant insights into the evolutionary and functional characterization of maize myosin genes that could transfer to the identification and application of homologous myosins of other grasses.
PMCID: PMC3935558  PMID: 24363426
Alternative splicing; evolution; expression pattern; headless myosin; maize; myosin.
25.  Nonmuscle myosin II is required for cell proliferation, cell sheet adhesion and wing hair morphology during wing morphogenesis 
Developmental biology  2010;345(2):117-132.
Metazoan development involves a myriad of dynamic cellular processes that require cytoskeletal function. Nonmuscle myosin II plays essential roles in embryonic development; however, knowledge of its role in post-embryonic development, even in model organisms such as Drosophila melanogaster, is only recently being revealed. In this study, truncation alleles were generated and enable the conditional perturbation, in a graded fashion, of nonmuscle myosin II function. During wing development they demonstrate novel roles for nonmuscle myosin II, including in adhesion between the dorsal and ventral wing epithelial sheets; in the formation of a single actin-based wing hair from the distal vertex of each cell; in forming unbranched wing hairs; and in the correct positioning of veins and crossveins. Many of these phenotypes overlap with those observed when clonal mosaic analysis was performed in the wing using loss of function alleles. Additional requirements for nonmuscle myosin II are in the correct formation of other actin-based cellular protrusions (microchaetae and macrochaetae). We confirm and extend genetic interaction studies to show that nonmuscle myosin II and an unconventional myosin, encoded by crinkled (ck/MyoVIIA), act antagonistically in multiple processes necessary for wing development. Lastly, we demonstrate that truncation alleles can perturb nonmuscle myosin II function via two distinct mechanisms – by titrating light chains away from endogenous heavy chains or by recruiting endogenous heavy chains into intracellular aggregates. By allowing myosin II function to be perturbed in a controlled manner, these novel tools enable the elucidation of post-embryonic roles for nonmuscle myosin II during targeted stages of fly development.
PMCID: PMC3712330  PMID: 20599890
myosin II; wing morphogenesis; Drosophila development

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