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Tang S, Liao JC, Dunn A, Altman RB, Spudich JA, Schmidt J. "Predicting allosteric communication in myosin via a pathway of conserved residues." Journal of Molecular Biology, 373, 1361–1373. (2007)
Abstract    View

We present a computational method that predicts a pathway of residues that mediate protein allosteric communication. The pathway is predicted using only a combination of distance constraints between contiguous residues and evolutionary data. We applied this analysis to find pathways of conserved residues connecting the myosin ATP binding site to the lever arm. These pathway residues may mediate the allosteric communication that couples ATP hydrolysis to the lever arm recovery stroke. Having examined pre-stroke conformations of Dictyostelium, scallop, and chicken myosin II as well as Dictyostelium myosin I, we observed a conserved pathway traversing switch II and the relay helix, which is consistent with the understood need for allosteric communication in this conformation. We also examined post-rigor and rigor conformations across several myosin species. Although initial residues of these paths are more heterogeneous, all but one of these paths traverse a consistent set of relay helix residues to reach the beginning of the lever arm. We discuss our results in the context of structural elements and reported mutational experiments, which substantiate the significance of the pre-stroke pathways. Our method provides a simple, computationally efficient means of predicting a set of residues that mediate allosteric communication. We provide a refined, downloadable application and "source code" (on to share this tool with the wider community (

  1. Better understand the allosteric communication pathway used by Myosin to convert ATP hydrolysis energy into movement along actin.
  2. Provide researchers with an application and code for finding protein allosteric pathways.

This project contains the AlloPathFinder application that allows users to compute likely allosteric pathways in proteins. The underlying assumption is that residues participating in allosteric communication should be fairly conserved and that communication happens through residues that are close in space.
The initial application for the code provided was to study the allosteric communication in myosin. Myosin is a well-studied molecular motor protein that walks along actin filaments to achieve cellular tasks such as movement of cargo proteins.
It couples ATP hydrolysis to highly-coordinated conformational changes that result in a power-stroke motion, or ''walking'' of myosin. Communication between a set of residues must link the three functional regions of myosin and transduce energy: the catalytic ATP binding region, the lever arm, and the actin-binding domain. We are investigating which residues are likely to participate in allosteric communication pathways.


The application is a collection of C++/QT code, suitable for reproducing the computational results of this paper.
In addition, we provide input and alignment information to reproduce Figure 3 (a key figure) in our paper.
Following our examples will also show you how to use AlloPathFinder with other protein familes, assumed to exhibit an allosteric communication. To run the application a multiple sequence alignment of representative proteins from the protein family is required along with at least one protein structure.

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