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Title: Computing Average Passive Forces in Sarcomeres in Length-Ramp Simulations
Authors: Herzog, Walter
Schnappacher-Tilp, Gudrun
Leonard, Timothy
Desch, Gertrud
Keywords: sarcommeres;muscle;protein titin
Issue Date: Jun-2016
Publisher: PLOS Computational Biology
Citation: Schappacher-Tilp, G., Leonard, T., Desch, G., & Herzog, W. (2016). Computing Average Passive Forces in Sarcomeres in Length-Ramp Simulations. PLOS Comput Biol, 12(6), e1004904.
Abstract: Passive forces in sarcomeres are mainly related to the giant protein titin. Titin’s extensible region consists of spring-like elements acting in series. In skeletal muscles these elements are the PEVK segment, two distinct immunoglobulin (Ig) domain regions (proximal and distal), and a N2A portion. While distal Ig domains are thought to form inextensible end filaments in intact sarcomeres, proximal Ig domains unfold in a force- and time-dependent manner. In length-ramp experiments of single titin strands, sequential unfolding of Ig domains leads to a typical saw-tooth pattern in force-elongation curves which can be simulated by Monte Carlo simulations. In sarcomeres, where more than a thousand titin strands are arranged in parallel, numerous Monte Carlo simulations are required to estimate the resultant force of all titin filaments based on the non-uniform titin elongations. To simplify calculations, the stochastic model of passive forces is often replaced by linear or non-linear deterministic and phenomenological functions. However, new theories of muscle contraction are based on the hypothesized binding of titin to the actin filament upon activation, and thereby on a prominent role of the structural properties of titin. Therefore, these theories necessitate a detailed analysis of titin forces in ength-ramp experiments. In our study we present a simple and efficient alternative to Monte Carlo simulations. Based on a structural titin model, we calculate the exact probability distributions of unfolded Ig domains under length-ramp conditions needed for rigorous analysis of expected forces, distribution of unfolding forces, etc. Due to the generality of our model, the approach is applicable to a wide range of stochastic protein unfolding problems.
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