The vertebrate skeletal muscle thick filaments are not three-stranded. Reinterpretation of some experimental data*
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Computer simulation of mass distribution within the model and Fourier transforms of images depicting mass distribution are explored for verification of two alternative modes of the myosin molecule arrangement within the vertebrate skeletal muscle thick filaments. The model well depicting the complete bipolar structure of the thick filament and revealing a true threefold-rotational symmetry is a tube covered by two helices with a pitch of 2 × 43 nm due to arrangement of the myosin tails along a helical path and grouping of all myosin heads in the crowns rotated by 240° and each containing three cross-bridges separated by 0°, 120°, and 180°. The cross-bridge crown parameters are verified by EM images as well as by optical and low-angle X-ray diffraction patterns found in the literature. The myosin tail arrangement, at which the C-terminus of about 43-nm length is near-parallel to the filament axis and the rest of the tail is quite strongly twisted around, is verified by the high-angle X-ray diffraction patterns. A consequence of the new packing is a new way of movement of the myosin cross-bridges, namely, not by bending in the hinge domains, but by unwrapping from the thick filament surface towards the thin filaments along a helical path.
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