scallop myosin in the near rigor conformation
Muscle contraction is caused by the sliding action of the thick filaments over the thin filaments of the myofibril. Myosin is a major component of thick filaments and exists as a hexamer of 2 heavy chains, 2 alkali light chains, and 2 regulatory light chains. The heavy chain can be subdivided into the N-terminal globular head and the C-terminal coiled-coil rod-like tail, although some forms have a globular region in their C-terminal. There are many cell-specific isoforms of myosin heavy chains, coded for by a multi-gene family. Myosin interacts with actin to convert chemical energy, in the form of ATP, to mechanical energy. The 3-D structure of the head portion of myosin has been determined  and a model for actin-myosin complex has been constructed.
The globular head is well conserved, and is key to contraction. Muscle contraction results from an attachment–detachment cycle between the myosin heads extending from myosin filaments and the sites on actin filaments. The myosin head first attaches to actin together with the products of ATP hydrolysis, performs a power stroke associated with release of hydrolysis products, and detaches from actin upon binding with new ATP. The detached myosin head then hydrolyses ATP, and performs a recovery stroke to restore its initial position. The strokes have been suggested to result from rotation of the lever arm domain around the converter domain, while the catalytic domain remains rigid.
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