Regulatory Elements of Drosophila Non-Muscle Myosin II
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Non-muscle myosin II (NM-II) is present in every cell type and moves actin filaments to provide contraction within the cell. NM-II has a motor domain, a neck domain that binds two light chains, a long coiled-coil tail domain, and a carboxyl-terminal tailpiece. NM-II forms bipolar filaments by associating near the carboxyl-terminus of the tail. It has long been known that both the formation of bipolar filaments and enzymatic activity of the motor domain are regulated by phosphorylation of one of the neck-binding light chains, known as the regulatory light chain (RLC). This phosphorylation causes a large-scale conformational shift of both the motor domains and the tail domain. However, the mechanism of this regulation and the elements that mediate the autoinhibition remain unknown. We have taken a deletional approach to finding the elements necessary for autoinhibition and regulation of filament assembly. We have used salt- dependent pelleting assays, cell culture, and analytical ultracentrifugation to identify two small regions in the IQ motifs of the neck and the carboxyl-terminal tailpiece that are essential for autoinhibition. Another necessary element for autoinhibition is the fold the coiled coil of the tail back on itself by means of hinge domains. We used internal deletions, pelleting assays, and thermal stability assays to identify and characterize the flexible hinge domains within the coiled-coil tail of NM-II. These hinges consist of low-stability regions of coiled coil, and can be stiffened by introducing mutations that cause the sequence to mimic a more ideal coiled coil. By defining these essential elements of autoinhibition, this work paves the way for a mechanistic understanding of the complex regulation of NM-II in the cell. This dissertation contains unpublished co-authored material.