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During normal levels of exertion, many cardiac muscle myosin heads are sequestered in an off-state even during systolic contraction to save energy and for precise regulation. They can be converted to an on-state when exertion is increased. Hypercontractility caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) myosin mutations is often the result of shifting the equilibrium toward more heads in the on-state. The off-state is equated with a folded-back structure known as the interacting head motif (IHM), which is a regulatory feature of all muscle myosins and class-2 non-muscle myosins. We report here the human β-cardiac myosin IHM structure to 3.6 Å resolution. The structure shows that the interfaces are hot spots of HCM mutations and reveals details of the significant interactions. Importantly, the structures of cardiac and smooth muscle myosin IHMs are dramatically different. This challenges the concept that the IHM structure is conserved in all muscle types and opens new perspectives in the understanding of muscle physiology. The cardiac IHM structure has been the missing puzzle piece to fully understand the development of inherited cardiomyopathies. This work will pave the way for the development of new molecules able to stabilize or destabilize the IHM in a personalized medicine approach.
*This manuscript was submitted to Nature Communications in August 2022 and dealt efficiently by the editors. All reviewers received this version of the manuscript before 9 208 August 2022. They also received coordinates and maps of our high resolution structure on the 18 208 August 2022. Due to slowness of at least one reviewer, this contribution was delayed for acceptance by Nature Communications and we are now depositing in bioRxiv the originally submitted version written in July 2022 for everyone to see. Indeed, two bioRxiv contributions at lower resolution but adding similar concepts on thick filament regulation were deposited this week in bioRxiv, one of the contributions having had access to our coordinates.
We hope that our data at high resolution will be helpful for all readers that appreciate that high resolution information is required to build accurate atomic models and discuss implications for sarcomere regulation and the effects of cardiomyopathy mutations on heart muscle function.