Stepwise length changes in single invertebrate thick filaments.
Previous experiments on thick filaments of the anterior byssus retractor muscle of Mytilus and the telson-levator muscle of Limulus polyphemus have shown large, reversible length changes up to 23% and 66% of initial length, respectively, within the physiological tension range. Using nanofabricated cantilevers and newly developed high-resolution detection methods, we investigated the dynamics of isolated Mytilus anterior byssus retractor muscle thick filaments. Single thick filaments were suspended between the tips of two microbeams oriented perpendicular to the filament axis: a deflectable cantilever and a stationary beam. Axial stress was applied by translating the base of the deflectable nanolever away from the stationary beam, which bent the nanolever. Tips of flexible nanolevers and stationary beam were imaged onto a photodiode array to track their positions. Filament shortening and lengthening traces, obtained immediately after the motor had imposed stress on the filament, showed steps and pauses. Step sizes were 2.7 nm and integer multiples thereof. Steps of this same size paradigm have been seen both during contraction of single sarcomeres and during active interaction between single isolated actin and myosin filaments, raising the question whether all of these phenomena might be related. (+info)
Mapping chemical gradients within and along a fibrous structural tissue, mussel byssal threads.
The byssal thread of a mussel is an extraorganismic connective tissue that exhibits a striking end-to-end gradient in mechanical properties and thus provides a unique opportunity for studying how gradients are made. Mfp-1 (Mytilus foot protein-1) is a conspicuous component of the protective outer cuticle of byssal threads given its high 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa) content at 10-15 mol %. Amino acid analysis of mfp-1 extracted from successive foot sections of Mytilus galloprovincialis reveals a post-translationally mediated gradient with highest Dopa levels present in mfp-1 from the accessory gland near the tip of the foot decreasing gradually toward the base. The Dopa content of successive segments of byssal threads decreases from the distal to the proximal end and thus reflects the trend of mfp-1 in the foot. Inductively coupled plasma analysis indicates that certain metal ions including iron follow the trend in Dopa along the thread. Energy-dispersive x-ray spectrometry showed that iron, when present, was concentrated in the cuticle of the threads but sparse in the core. The axial iron gradient appears most closely correlated with the Dopa gradient. The direct incubation of mussels and byssal threads in Fe(3+) supplemented seawater showed that byssal threads are unable to sequester iron from the seawater. Instead, particulate/soluble iron is actively taken up by mussels during filter feeding and incorporated into byssal threads during their secretion. Our results suggest that mussels may exploit the interplay between Dopa and metals to tailor the different parts of threads for specific mechanical properties. (+info)
Fish and molluscan metallothioneins.
Metallothioneins (MTs) are noncatalytic peptides involved in storage of essential ions, detoxification of nonessential metals, and scavenging of oxyradicals. They exhibit an unusual primary sequence and unique 3D arrangement. Whereas vertebrate MTs are characterized by the well-known dumbbell shape, with a beta domain that binds three bivalent metal ions and an alpha domain that binds four ions, molluscan MT structure is still poorly understood. For this reason we compared two MTs from aquatic organisms that differ markedly in primary structure: MT 10 from the invertebrate Mytilus galloprovincialis and MT A from Oncorhyncus mykiss. Both proteins were overexpressed in Escherichia coli as glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins, and the MT moiety was recovered after protease cleavage. The MTs were analyzed by gel electrophoresis and tested for their differential reactivity with alkylating and reducing agents. Although they show an identical cadmium content and a similar metal-binding ability, spectropolarimetric analysis disclosed significant differences in the Cd7-MT secondary conformation. These structural differences reflect the thermal stability and metal transport of the two proteins. When metal transfer from Cd7-MT to 4-(2-pyridylazo)resorcinol was measured, the mussel MT was more reactive than the fish protein. This confirms that the differences in the primary sequence of MT 10 give rise to peculiar secondary conformation, which in turn reflects its reactivity and stability. The functional differences between the two MTs are due to specific structural properties and may be related to the different lifestyles of the two organisms. (+info)
Comparative analysis of gender-associated complete mitochondrial genomes in marine mussels (Mytilus spp.).
Marine mussels of the genus Mytilus have an unusual mode of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) transmission termed doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI). Female mussels are homoplasmic for the F mitotype, which is inherited maternally, while males are usually heteroplasmic, carrying a mixture of the maternal F mitotype and the paternally inherited M genome. Two classes of M genomes have been observed: "standard" M genomes and "recently masculinized" M genomes. The latter are more similar to F genomes at the sequence level but are transmitted paternally like standard M genomes. In this study we report the complete sequences of two standard male M. edulis and one recently masculinized male M. trossulus mitochondrial genome. A comparative analysis, including the previously sequenced M. edulis F and M. galloprovincialis F and M mtDNAs, reveals that these genomes are identical in gene order, but highly divergent in nucleotide and amino acid sequence. The large amount (>20%) of nucleotide substitutions that fall in coding regions implies that there are several amino acid replacements between the F and M genomes, which likely have an impact on the structural and functional properties of the mitochondrial proteome. Correlation of the divergence rate of different protein-coding genes indicates that mtDNA-encoded proteins of the M genome are still under selective constraints, although less highly than genes of the F genome. The mosaic F/M control region of the masculinized F genome provides evidence for lineage-specific sequences that may be responsible for the different mode of transmission genetics. This analysis shows the value of comparative genomics to better understand the mechanisms of maintenance and segregation of mtDNA sequence variants in mytilid mussels. (+info)
Acute thermal stress and various heavy metals induce tissue-specific pro- or anti-apoptotic events via the p38-MAPK signal transduction pathway in Mytilus galloprovincialis (Lam.).
We investigated the effects of various heavy metals such as copper, zinc and cadmium, as well as acute thermal stress, on the signalling mechanisms involved in the protection and/or apoptosis of Mytilus galloprovincialis mantle and gill tissues. The results of our studies revealed that mantle and gill tissues differentially respond to the stressful stimuli examined. In the mantle tissue, 1 micromol l(-1) Cu2+ and 50 micromol l(-1) Zn2+ induced a transient p38-MAPK activation, whereas 1 micromol l(-1) Cd2+ induced a biphasic profile of the kinase phosphorylation with maximal values at 15 and 120 min of treatment, respectively. Furthermore, 1 micromol l(-1) SB203580 abolished the Cu2+-induced kinase phosphorylation. In gills, both Cu2+ and Zn2+ induced a considerably higher p38-MAPK activation, which remained elevated for at least 60 min, whereas Cd2+ induced a maximal kinase activation within 60 min of treatment. Hypothermia (4 degrees C) induced a moderate kinase phosphorylation (maximised at 30 min), whereas hyperthermia (30 degrees C) induced a rapid (within 15 min) p38-MAPK phosphorylation that remained considerably above basal levels for at least 2 h. Our studies on the synergistic effect of hyperthermia and Cu2+ revealed that these two stressful stimuli are additive in the mantle tissue, inducing an almost double p38-MAPK activation. Further studies on the involvement of the p38-MAPK signalling pathway in tissue-specific pro- or anti-apoptotic events revealed that identical stressful stimuli possibly lead to apoptotic death via the caspase-3 activation in the mantle tissue and to anti-apoptotic events possibly via the induction of Hsp70 overexpression in the gill tissue. (+info)
Temperature sensitivities of cytosolic malate dehydrogenases from native and invasive species of marine mussels (genus Mytilus): sequence-function linkages and correlations with biogeographic distribution.
The blue mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, a native of the Mediterranean Sea, has invaded the west coast of North America in the past century, displacing the native blue mussel, Mytilus trossulus, from most of its former habitats in central and southern California. The invasive success of M. galloprovincialis is conjectured to be due, in part, to physiological adaptations that enable it to outperform M. trossulus at high temperatures. We have examined the structure and function of the enzyme cytosolic malate dehydrogenase (cMDH) from these species, as well as from the more distantly related ribbed mussel, Mytilus californianus, to characterize the effects of temperature on kinetic properties thought to exhibit thermal adaptation. The M. trossulus cMDH ortholog differs from the other cMDHs in a direction consistent with cold adaptation, as evidenced by a higher and more temperature-sensitive Michaelis-Menten constant for the cofactor NADH (Km(NADH)). This difference results from minor changes in sequence: the M. trossulus ortholog differs from the M. galloprovincialis ortholog by only two substitutions in the 334 amino acid monomer, and the M. californianus and M. trossulus orthologs differ by five substitutions. In each case, only one of these substitutions is non-conservative. To test the effects of individual substitutions on kinetic properties, we used site-directed mutagenesis to create recombinant cMDHs. Recombinant wild-type M. trossulus cMDH (rWT) has high Km(NADH) compared with mutants incorporating the non-conservative substitutions found in M. californianus and M. galloprovincialis - V114H and V114N, respectively - demonstrating that these mutations are responsible for the differences found in substrate affinity. Turnover number (kcat) is also higher in rWT compared with the two mutants, consistent with cold adaptation in the M. trossulus ortholog. Conversely, rWT and V114H appear more thermostable than V114N. Based on a comparison of Km(NADH) and kcat values among the orthologs, we propose that immersion temperatures are of greater selective importance in adapting kinetic properties than the more extreme temperatures that occur during emersion. The relative warm adaptation of M. galloprovincialis cMDH may be one of a suite of physiological characters that enhance the competitive ability of this invasive species in warm habitats. (+info)
Effect of pH on the rate of myosin head detachment in molluscan catch muscle: are myosin heads involved in the catch state?
Moderate alkalisation is known to terminate the catch state of bivalve mollusc smooth muscles such as the anterior byssus retractor muscle (ABRM) of Mytilus edulis L. In the present study, we investigated the effect of moderate alkalisation (pH 7.2-7.7 vs control pH 6.7) on the myosin head detachment rate in saponin-skinned fibre bundles of ABRM in order to investigate the possible role of myosin heads in the force maintenance during catch. The detachment rate of myosin heads was deduced from two types of experiments. (1) In stretch experiments on maximally Ca2+-activated fibre bundles (pCa 4.5), the rate of force decay after stepwise stretch was assessed. (2) In ATP step experiments, the rate of force decay from high force rigor (pCa>8) was evaluated. The ATP step was induced by photolysis of caged ATP. We found that moderate alkalisation induces relaxation of skinned fibres in catch, thereby reducing both force and stiffness, whereas it does not accelerate the rate of myosin head detachment. This acceleration, however, would be expected if catch would be simply due to myosin heads remaining sustainably attached to actin filaments. Thus, the myosin heads may be less involved in catch than generally assumed. Catch may possibly depend on a different kind of myofilament interconnections, which are abolished by moderate alkalisation. (+info)
Multiple events are responsible for an insertion in a paternally inherited mitochondrial genome of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis.
In a sperm-transmitted mtDNA of Mytilus galloprovincialis we found an insertion that is not present in the typical genome and whose origin can be explained by a sequence of three events: a tandem duplication, a nonhomologous recombination, and a deletion. Unless such events are extremely rare in this species, the identical gene arrangement of the two gender-specific genomes should imply strong selection for same gene order and size. (+info)