2Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received July 13, 2011
This review concerns the structure and functions of tropomyosin (TM), an actin-binding protein that plays a key role in the regulation of muscle contraction. The TM molecule is a dimer of α-helices, which form a coiled-coil. Recent views on the TM structure are analyzed, and special attention is concentrated on those structural traits of the TM molecule that distinguish it from the other coiled-coil proteins. Modern data are presented on TM functional properties, such as its interaction with actin and ability to move on the surface of actin filaments, which underlies the regulation of the actin–myosin interaction upon contraction of skeletal and cardiac muscles. Also, part of the review is devoted to analysis of the effects of mutations in TM genes associated with muscle diseases (myopathies) on the structure and functions of TM.
KEY WORDS: tropomyosin, coiled-coil proteins, regulation of muscle contraction