In nemaline myopathy and some cardiac muscles, the Z-band becomes greatly enlarged and contains multiple layers of a zigzag structure similar to that seen in normal muscle. Because of the additional periodicity in the direction of the filament axis, these structures are particularly favorable for three-dimensional analysis since it becomes possible to average the data in all three dimensions and thus improve the reliability of the reconstruction. Individual views of the structure corresponding to tilted longitudinal and transverse sections were combined by matching the phases of common reflections. Examination of the tilted views strongly suggested that to the available resolution, the structure possesses fourfold screw symmetry along the actin filament axes. This symmetry could be used both in establishing the correct alignment for the combination of individual tilted views and to generate additional views not readily accessible in a single tilt series. The reconstruction shows actin filaments from one sarcomere surrounded by an array of four actin filaments with opposite polarity from the adjacent sacormere. The actin filaments show a right-handed twist and are connected by a structure that links adjacent filaments with the same polarity at the same axial level, then runs parallel to the filaments, and finally forms a link between two actin filaments whose polarity is opposite to that of the first pair. The connecting structure is probably composed of alpha-actinin which is located in Z-bands and cross-links actin filaments. The connecting structure may consist of two alpha-actinin molecules linking actin filaments of opposite polarity.

This content is only available as a PDF.