Skeletal Muscle And The Function Of Generating Tension Essay

Skeletal Muscle And The Function Of Generating Tension Essay

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Vertebrate skeletal muscle has many properties that make it suitable for performing its main function of generating tension. Skeletal muscles allow muscle contractions and voluntary bodily movements to occur. Anatomically, skeletal muscles are composed of many bundles of individual, independently-acting muscle fibers. Each skeletal muscle fiber is one large cell containing multiple nuclei due to the joining of embryonic myoblast cells in development. The number of muscle fibers within a muscle varies between different muscles. Muscle fibers are composed of myofibrils, which are made up of repeating contractile units called sarcomeres. Sarcomeres have a highly specific arrangement involving overlapping filaments of myosin and actin. Myosin is a linear protein that is composed of two polypeptides that each contain one globular head twisted together. Myosin filaments consist of many myosin molecules with the globular heads positioned on the sides of the filament. Binding sites for Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) are present on the heads. Actin filaments are composed of actin monomers and have the protein tropomyosin wrapped around them. Another protein, troponin, is bound to the tropomyosin protein at intervals along the actin filament. A sarcomere is bounded by two Z lines responsible for stabilizing the actin filaments. The myosin filaments are located in the center of the sarcomere, called the A band, and are held there by titin proteins running the entire length of the sarcomere. At rest, the sarcomere composition has two areas where actin and myosin filaments do not overlap, called the H zone and I band. When a muscle is stimulated to contract, the H zone and I band shorten as the Z lines of the sarcomere move closer to the A band ...


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...In the experiment on tetanus, I hypothesized that as the stimulus interval lowered the number of contractions would decrease due to the high frequency of stimuli innervating the muscle before the previous muscle twitches were complete to summate. As the stimuli sum and the number of contractions decrease, I expected the resulting contractions to increase in strength due to summation of the stimuli. As the stimulus interval further decreased, I expected the muscle would undergo one prolonged contraction at maximum force. I expected this result, because the stimulus frequency would be increased to the point where calcium would not be pumped out of the sarcoplasm. Therefore, the myosin heads would remain attached to the actin filaments resulting in contraction without relaxation between pulses and the large number of stimuli would cause all motor units to be activated.

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