Native myosin filaments from scallop striated muscle fray into subfilaments of approximately 100-A diameter when exposed to solutions of low ionic strength. The number of subfilaments appears to be five to seven (close to the sevenfold rotational symmetry of the native filament), and the subfilaments probably coil around one another. Synthetic filaments assembled from purified scallop myosin at roughly physiological ionic strength have diameters similar to those of native filaments, but are much longer. They too can be frayed into subfilaments at low ionic strength. Synthetic filaments share what may be an important regulatory property with native filaments: an order-disorder transition in the helical arrangement of myosin cross-bridges that is induced on activation by calcium, removal of nucleotide, or modification of a myosin head sulfhydryl. Some native filaments from scallop striated muscle carry short "end filaments" protruding from their tips, comparable to the structures associated with vertebrate striated muscle myosin filaments. Gell electrophoresis of scallop muscle homogenates reveals the presence of high molecular weight proteins that may include the invertebrate counterpart of titin, a component of the vertebrate end filament. Although the myosin molecule itself may contain much of the information required to direct its assembly, other factors acting in vivo, including interactions with accessory proteins, probably contribute to the assembly of a precisely defined thick filament during myofibrillogenesis.

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