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The sarcomere is the functional unit of the muscle fiber. The sarcomere itself is bundled within the myofibril that runs the entire length of the muscle fiber and attaches to the sarcolemma at its end. As myofibrils contract, the entire muscle cell contracts. Because myofibrils are only approximately 1.2 μ m in diameter, hundreds to thousands (each with thousands of sarcomeres) can be found inside one muscle fiber. Each sarcomere is approximately 2 μ m in length with a three-dimensional cylinder-like arrangement and is bordered by structures called Z-discs (also called Z-lines, because pictures are two-dimensional), to which the actin myofilaments are anchored ( [link] ). Because the actin and its troponin-tropomyosin complex (projecting from the Z-discs toward the center of the sarcomere) form strands that are thinner than the myosin, it is called the thin filament    of the sarcomere. Likewise, because the myosin strands and their multiple heads (projecting from the center of the sarcomere, toward but not all to way to, the Z-discs) have more mass and are thicker, they are called the thick filament    of the sarcomere.

The sarcomere

This figure shows the structure of thick and thin filaments. On the top of the image a sarcomere is shown with the H zone, Z line and M lines labeled. To the right of the bottom panel, the structure of the thick filament is shown in detail. To the left of the bottom panel, the structure of a thin filament is shown in detail.
The sarcomere, the region from one Z-line to the next Z-line, is the functional unit of a skeletal muscle fiber.

The neuromuscular junction

Another specialization of the skeletal muscle is the site where a motor neuron’s terminal meets the muscle fiber—called the neuromuscular junction (NMJ)    . This is where the muscle fiber first responds to signaling by the motor neuron. Every skeletal muscle fiber in every skeletal muscle is innervated by a motor neuron at the NMJ. Excitation signals from the neuron are the only way to functionally activate the fiber to contract.

Every skeletal muscle fiber is supplied by a motor neuron at the NMJ. Watch this video to learn more about what happens at the NMJ. (a) What is the definition of a motor unit? (b) What is the structural and functional difference between a large motor unit and a small motor unit? (c) Can you give an example of each? (d) Why is the neurotransmitter acetylcholine degraded after binding to its receptor?

Excitation-contraction coupling

All living cells have membrane potentials, or electrical gradients across their membranes. The inside of the membrane is usually around -60 to -90 mV, relative to the outside. This is referred to as a cell’s membrane potential. Neurons and muscle cells can use their membrane potentials to generate electrical signals. They do this by controlling the movement of charged particles, called ions, across their membranes to create electrical currents. This is achieved by opening and closing specialized proteins in the membrane called ion channels. Although the currents generated by ions moving through these channel proteins are very small, they form the basis of both neural signaling and muscle contraction.

Both neurons and skeletal muscle cells are electrically excitable, meaning that they are able to generate action potentials. An action potential is a special type of electrical signal that can travel along a cell membrane as a wave. This allows a signal to be transmitted quickly and faithfully over long distances.

Questions & Answers

Capillary permeability
what do you want to know about it?
Ramsin
Hello, I want to search about the topic, information and pictures
syncitium is the property of which of the following muscle
Shahab Reply
can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Sai Reply
i now madam
irpa
ha can u please send me the PDF of questions
Sai
it's important to me to have that information please send as fast as u can
Sai
me too if possible?
Ramsin
If a molecule can only pass through a membrane with the assistance of a membrane protein, but the direction of its travel is controlled only by its concentration, the process is called?
osmosis
chozen
A 52 year old woman turned her head quickly, during a tennis game and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her neck along her upper limb. Physical examination and medical imaging revealed a herniated degenerated IV disc in the cervical region of her vertebral column.
Isaac
a. What probably caused the IV disc herniation? b. What cause IV disc degeneration? c. What are the result of disc degeneration?
Isaac
b
Mirasol
Describe the neural control of erection and ejaculation.
Nana Reply
A 52 year old woman turned her head quickly, during a tennis game and suddenly felt a sharp pain in her neck along her upper limb. Physical examination and medical imaging revealed a herniated degenerated IV disc in the cervical region of her vertebral column. a)What probably caused the IV di
Isaac
a) What probably caused the IV disc herniation? b) What cause IV disc degeneration? c) What are the result of disc degeneration?
Isaac
iv disc herniation compress the nerve cause numbness tingling sensation even paralysis in severe cases...
Khawaja
explain more
DANIELLA Reply
yes
Ramzan
function of skeleton
Josiah Reply
- for movement - blood production by the bone marrow
Daniel
production of calsium and phosphorus
Juma
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
what is heart
Subhajit Reply
it is the tissue..which pump blood to the all parts of body
GRAY
the heart is a conical , hollow, muscular organ which works continuously through out the life of a person ,it is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 300 grams and also the heart is in the chest just behind the breast bone and between the two lungs
Mary
a hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system by regular contractions
Johnny
is a muscular organ that pumps blood lungs and other body tissues through vessels
Nolosha
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. 8. What fossa related the perineal swelling? 9. Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac Reply
inguinal fossa femoral vein?
Jeen
if you dont the answer by now you should seek another line of work. as a professor it is my duty to let you know about your lacking.
Arif
branches of brachial plexus
Arooj Reply
musculocutaneous, median, ulnar, axillary, and radial nerves.
Shakerah
Shortly after childbirth, a woman consulted her physician about a tender swelling in her perineal region. a.What fossa related the perineal swelling? b.Describe what vessel may cause the collection of blood in the fossa after childbirth?
Isaac
What is great Auricular nerve?
ZUBAIR Reply
it originates from the cervical plexus that provides sensory innervation to the skin.
Daniel
why it is called Auricular nerve
Amber
is any payment is needed to use this app
Suprith Reply
is it a question?
Samenjo
doubt about this app
Suprith
which lines divide the body into nine quadrant
Julius Reply
nine regions of abdomen can b marked using two horizontal & two vertical lines...the vertical lines are the mid clavicular lines taken from the mid point of each clavicle. the upper horizontal lines is the subcostal line taken from the inferior parts of the lowest costal cartilage...
Khawaja
to get a better understanding for the function
Rashana Reply
anatomy and physiology work closely together
Rashana
anatomy to you about the structure of the while physiology is the the study of the body function
Rashana
what is the difference between negative and positive feedback
Rashana
The key difference bewteen positive and negative feedback is their response to change. Positive feedback amplifies change while negative reduces change.
ladychen
negative feed back produces a response that brings back to normal while positive feed back produces a response that stimulates
Julius
examples of the body structure
Naki Reply
body's structure
Naki

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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