We have obtained detailed three-dimensional images of in situ cross-bridge structure in insect flight muscle by electron microscopy of multiple tilt views of single filament layers in ultrathin sections, supplemented with data from thick sections. In this report, we describe the images obtained of the myac layer, a 25-nm longitudinal section containing a single layer of alternating myosin and actin filaments. The reconstruction reveals averaged rigor cross-bridges that clearly separate into two classes constituting lead and rear chevrons within each 38.7-nm axial repeat. These two classes differ in tilt angle, size and shape, density, and slew. This new reconstruction confirms our earlier interpretation of the lead bridge as a two-headed cross-bridge and the rear bridge as a single-headed cross-bridge. The importance of complementing tilt series with additional projections outside the goniometer tilt range is demonstrated by comparison with our earlier myac layer reconstruction. Incorporation of this additional data reveals new details of rigor cross-bridge structure in situ which include clear delineation of (a) a triangular shape for the lead bridge, (b) a smaller size for the rear bridge, and (c) density continuity across the thin filament in the lead bridge. Within actin's regular 38.7-nm helical repeat, local twist variations in the thin filament that correlate with the two cross-bridge classes persist in this new reconstruction. These observations show that in situ rigor cross-bridges are not uniform, and suggest three different myosin head conformations in rigor.

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