The structures of filamentous Mg-ATP-actin (F actin) in the presence and absence of KCl have been mapped with hydroxyl radicals (asterisk inside a circle signOH) generated by synchrotron X-ray radiolysis. Proteolysis and mass spectrometry (MS) analysis revealed 52 reactive side-chain sites from 27 distinct peptides within actin. The reactivities of these probe sites with asterisk inside a circle signOH in the F-actin states are compared with those of Mg-ATP-G-actin (monomers) analyzed previously [Guan, J.-Q. et al. (2003) Biochemistry 42, 11992-12000]. Filament-dependent protection within subdomains 2, 3, and 4 and at the C terminus is consistent with longitudinal contacts of monomers within the filament helical structure as predicted by the Holmes model. In the absence of KCl, the extent of filament-dependent protection rarely reached 3-fold, consistent with a highly dynamic filament characterized by relatively weak interactions between actin protomers. However, in the presence of KCl, the extents of protection are significantly increased, consistent with a well-ordered, more tightly packed filament structure. Filament-dependent enhancements of reactivity not predicted by the Holmes model are seen for a peptide that overlaps the "hydrophobic plug" (H-plug) region and for a peptide that forms contacts with the polyphosphate moiety of the bound nucleotide. Overall, these data are both consistent with and complementary to a recent deuterium-exchange MS study of filamentous actin [Chik, J. K., and Schriemer, D.C. (2003) J. Mol. Biol. 334, 373-385], which also did not detect any burial of the H plug upon formation of filaments.
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