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Tuesday, 14 January, 2014

Calmodulin regulates dimerization, motility, and lipid binding of Leishmania myosin XXI

C. Batters, H. Ellrich, C. Helbig, K. A. Woodall, C. Hundschell, D. Brack, and C. Veigel -
PNAS, Vol. 111 (2), E227-E236 (2014)

Myosin XXI is the only myosin expressed in Leishmania parasites. Although it is assumed that it performs a variety of motile functions, the motor’s oligomerization states, cargo-binding, and motility are unknown. Here we show that binding of a single calmodulin causes the motor to adopt a monomeric state and to move actin filaments. In the absence of calmodulin, nonmotile dimers that cross-linked actin filaments were formed. Unexpectedly, structural analysis revealed that the dimerization domains include the calmodulin-binding neck region, essential for the generation of force and movement in myosins. Furthermore, monomeric myosin XXI bound to mixed liposomes, whereas the dimers did not. Lipid-binding sections overlapped with the dimerization domains, but also included a phox-homology domain in the converter region. We propose a mechanism of myosin regulation where dimerization, motility, and lipid binding are regulated by calmodulin. Although myosin-XXI dimers might act as nonmotile actin cross-linkers, the calmodulin-binding monomers might transport lipid cargo in the parasite.


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