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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Caldesmon. Molecular weight and subunit composition by analytical ultracentrifugation.

A wide range of values has been reported for the subunit and molecular weights of smooth muscle caldesmon. There have also been conflicting reports concerning whether caldesmon is a monomer or dimer. We attempted to resolve these uncertainties by determining the molecular weight of chicken gizzard smooth muscle caldesmon using the technique of sedimentation equilibrium in the analytical ultracentrifuge. Unlike previous methods that have been used to estimate the molecular weight of caldesmon, the molecular weight determined by equilibrium sedimentation does not depend upon assumptions about the shape of the molecule. We concluded that caldesmon in solution is monomeric with a molecular mass of 93 +/- 4 kDa, a value that is much less than those previously reported in the literature. This new value, in conjunction with sedimentation velocity experiments, led to the conclusion that caldesmon is a highly asymmetric molecule with an apparent length of 740 A in solution. The mass of a cyanogen bromide fragment, with an apparent mass of 37 kDa from sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, was determined to be 25.1 +/- 0.6 kDa using sedimentation equilibrium. These results imply that the reported molecular weights of other fragment(s) of caldesmon have also been overestimated. We have determined an optical extinction coefficient for caldesmon (E1%(280 nm) = 3.3) by determining its concentration from its refractive index which was measured in the analytical ultracentrifuge. From the above values of the molecular weight and the extinction coefficient, we redetermined that the caldesmon molecule has two cysteines and recalculated the stoichiometric molar ratio of actin/tropomyosin/caldesmon in the smooth muscle thin filament to be 28:4:1.[1]


  1. Caldesmon. Molecular weight and subunit composition by analytical ultracentrifugation. Graceffa, P., Wang, C.L., Stafford, W.F. J. Biol. Chem. (1988) [Pubmed]
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