Clear images of myosin filaments have been seen in shadowed freeze-fracture replicas of single fibers of relaxed frog semitendinosus muscles rapidly frozen using a dual propane jet freezing device. These images have been analyzed by optical diffraction and computer averaging and have been modelled to reveal details of the myosin head configuration on the right-handed, three-stranded helix of cross-bridges. Both the characteristic 430-A and 140-150-A repeats of the myosin cross-bridge array could be seen. The measured filament backbone diameter was 140-160 A, and the outer diameter of the cross-bridge array was 300 A. Evidence is presented that suggests that the observed images are consistent with a model in which both of the heads of one myosin molecule tilt in the same direction at an angle of approximately 50-70 degrees to the normal to the filament long axis and are slewed so that they lie alongside each other and their radially projected density lies along the three right-handed helical tracks. Any perturbation of the myosin heads away from their ideal lattice sites needed to account for x-ray reflections not predicted for a perfect helix must be essentially along the three helical tracks of cross-bridges. Little trace of the presence of non-myosin proteins could be seen.

This content is only available as a PDF.