RESOURCES: Mighty Myosin

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Science  09 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5506, pp. 951
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5506.951a

The graceful pirouettes of ballerinas and the powerful bench presses of Olympic weightlifters both depend on the millions of molecular motors within muscles. At the center of the action are proteins known as myosins. Using a cell's energy supply, myosin molecules drop their bobbing heads onto the filaments of another protein, actin, and tug to make muscle fibers move.

The Myosin Home Page, hosted by John Kendrick-Jones's group at Cambridge University, provides an in-depth view of the 17 classes and 139 different myosin molecules identified to date. Found in eukaryotes as diverse as yeast and humans, myosins play a role not only in muscle contraction but processes such as cellular motility, cytokinesis, and membrane trafficking. The site includes crystal structures and alignments of myosin sequences and domains, a myosin phylogenetic tree, and links to sequences in the Protein Data Bank. Visitors can also browse selected new papers or link to the labs of myosin researchers.

Another valuable part of the site are brief accounts, some written by outside contributors, on topics such as myosin in sensory hair cells and the “actomyosin cross bridge cycle.” Some topics are still blank, but Web master Rhys Roberts says, “We will fill the whole site eventually!”

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