4 March 2016
The embryonic myosin isoform is expressed during fetal development and rapidly down-regulated after birth. Freeman-Sheldon syndrome (FSS) is a disease associated with missense mutations in the motor domain of this myosin. It is the most severe form of distal arthrogryposis, leading to overcontraction of the hands, feet, and orofacial muscles and other joints of the body. Availability of human embryonic muscle tissue has been a limiting factor in investigating the properties of this isoform and its mutations. Using a recombinant expression system, we have studied homogeneous samples of human motors for the WT and three of the most common FSS mutants: R672H, R672C, and T178I. Our data suggest that the WT embryonic myosin motor is similar in contractile speed to the slow type I/β cardiac based on the rate constant for ADP release and ADP affinity for actin-myosin. All three FSS mutations show dramatic changes in kinetic properties, most notably the slowing of the apparent ATP hydrolysis step (reduced 5–9-fold), leading to a longer lived detached state and a slowed V max of the ATPase (2–35-fold), indicating a slower cycling time. These mutations therefore seriously disrupt myosin function.