Dynamic interactions between the myosin motor head on thick filaments and the actin molecular track on thin filaments drive the myosin-crossbridge cycle that powers muscle contraction. The process is initiated by Ca2+ and the opening of troponin–tropomyosin–blocked myosin-binding sites on actin. The ensuing recruitment of myosin heads and their transformation from pre-powerstroke to post-powerstroke conformation on actin produce the force required for contraction. Cryo-EM-based atomic models confirm that during this process, tropomyosin occupies three different average positions on actin. Tropomyosin pivoting on actin away from a TnI-imposed myosin-blocking position accounts for part of the Ca2+ activation observed. However, the structure of tropomyosin on thin filaments that follows pre-powerstroke myosin binding and its translocation during myosin’s pre-powerstroke to post-powerstroke transition remains unresolved. Here, we approach this transition computationally in silico. We used the myosin helix-loop-helix motif as an anchor to dock models of pre-powerstroke cardiac myosin to the cleft between neighboring actin subunits along cardiac thin filaments. We then performed targeted molecular dynamics simulations of the transition between pre- and post-powerstroke conformations on actin in the presence of cardiac troponin–tropomyosin. These simulations show Arg 369 and Glu 370 on the tip of myosin Loop-4 encountering identically charged residues on tropomyosin. The charge repulsion between residues causes tropomyosin translocation across actin, thus accounting for the final regulatory step in the activation of the thin filament, and, in turn, facilitating myosin movement along the filament. We suggest that during muscle activity, myosin-induced tropomyosin movement is likely to result in unencumbered myosin head interactions on actin at low-energy cost.

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