From analysis of moderate- to small-angle x-ray diffraction patterns, in the light of similar experience with paramyosin, has been derived the following description for the structure of actin-rich filaments in "tinted" portions of the adductor muscle of the clam, Venus mercenaria:
1. Some 11 diffraction maxima, widely streaked along layer lines and occurring at moderate diffraction angles (spacings 7 to 60 A) appear to be accounted for as (hk) reflections of a net whose cell elements are, for dry material: a ≑ 82 A, b = 406 A (filament axis identity period), and γ ≑ 82° (angle between a and b axes). These reflections follow a selection rule which indicates that the net cell is non-primitive and contains 15 equivalent locations (nodes) arranged as shown in Fig. 5. An alternative net has b' = 351 A and 13 nodes per cell.
2. Another interpretation rolls the net into a large-scale helix and places the 15 (or 13) nodes along 7 (or 6) turns of a helical locus projecting 406 (or 351) A along the filament axis. Whether considered to be built of planar-net or helix-net cells, the individual filament contains a single cell width transverse to its axis. Transverse filament dimensions are, therefore, in either case similar (50 to 100 A).
3. Consideration of existing electron-optical, physicochemical, and x-ray diffraction data regarding isolated actin suggests that the net cell is built of rods, each containing in cross-section from one to four actin molecules which run parallel to or twisted about rod axes that extend at 12° to the filament axis along the (21) diagonals of the cell. Depending on monomer shape, 2 to 15 monomers furnish length to reach across two cells, and the actin molecules are built into each rod in such a way as to repeat (or nearly repeat) structure 15 (or 13) times along the double cell length. Further details of intra-rod structure cannot be suggested because of lack of wide-angle diffraction information.
4. The actin system is sensitive to treatment of the muscle with ethanol. Concentrations of 5 per cent or greater abolish the net reflections. Other solvents—water, benzene, ether, pyridine, acetone—do not alter the pattern materially.
5. Two other reflections, occurring at the first and second layer lines of an axial periodicity of about 400 A, do not clearly belong to the actin-net system. They represent either a superstructure built upon the filaments by parts of the actin molecules themselves or by incorporated other molecular species, or they arise from an additional macromolecular component (possibly myosin, or its homologues or fractions) of similar axial periodicity.