Muscle contraction and free energy transduction in biological systems

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Science  01 Mar 1985:
Vol. 227, Issue 4690, pp. 999-1006
DOI: 10.1126/science.3156404


Muscle contraction occurs when the actin and myosin filaments in muscle are driven past each other by a cyclic interaction of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and actin with cross-bridges that extend from myosin. Current biochemical studies suggest that, during each adenosine triphosphatase cycle, the myosin cross-bridge alternates between two main conformations, which differ markedly in their strength of binding to actin and in their overall structure. Binding of ATP to the cross-bridge induces the weak-binding conformation, whereas inorganic phosphate release returns the cross-bridge to the strong-binding conformation. This cross-bridge cycle is similar to the kinetic cycle that drives active transport and illustrates the general principles of free energy transduction by adenosine triphosphatase systems.