The Diversity of Myosin-Based Contractile Systems in Eukaryotic Cells

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

American Zoologist

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

Myosin is a molecular motor that through its interaction with actin, produces the movement characterized by such diverse cellular functions as muscle contraction and cytokinesis. The myosin molecules responsible for these movements are encoded by complex multigene families in higher organisms. Genes in these families show tissue-specific as well as developmentally regulated expression. In mammals, it has not been possible to dissect the precise functional contributions of individual members ofthe myosin heavy chain gene family. This manuscript discusses the information that can be gained from the molecular cloning of mammalian myosin heavy chains and how those cloned sequences can be used to study their function in vitro and in vivo.