Titin is a giant protein of striated muscle with important roles in the assembly, intracellular signalling and passive mechanical properties of sarcomeres. The molecule consists principally of ∼300 immunoglobulin and fibronectin domains arranged in a chain more than 1 μm long. The isoform-dependent N-terminal part of the molecule forms an elastic connection between the end of the thick filament and the Z-line. The larger, constitutively expressed C-terminal part is bound to the thick filament. Through most of the thick filament part, the immunoglobulin and fibronectin domains are arranged in a repeating pattern of 11 domains termed the ‘large super-repeat’. There are 11 contiguous copies of the large super-repeat making up a segment of the molecule nearly 0.5 μm long. We have studied a set of two-domain and three-domain recombinant fragments from the large super-repeat region by electron microscopy, synchrotron X-ray solution scattering and analytical ultracentrifugation, with the goal of reconstructing the overall structure of this part of titin. The data illustrate different average conformations in different domain pairs, which correlate with differences in interdomain linker lengths. They also illustrate interdomain bending and flexibility around average conformations. Overall, the data favour a helical conformation in the super-repeat. They also suggest that this region of titin is dimerised when bound to the thick filament.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.