Sarcomere.swf / Sarkomer.swf

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the smallest functional unit of a myofibril. Sarcomeres occur as repeating units along the length of a myofibril, occupying the region between Z lines of the myofibril

Muscles are composed of tubular muscle cells (myocytes or myofibers). Muscle cells are composed of tubular myofibrils. Myofibrils are composed of repeating sections of sarcomeres, which appear under the microscope as dark and light bands. Sarcomeres are composed of long, fibrous proteins that slide past each other when the muscles contract and relax.

Two of the important proteins are myosin, which forms the thick filament, and actin, which forms the thin filament. Myosin has a long, fibrous tail and a globular head, which binds to actin. The myosin head also binds to ATP, which is the source of energy for muscle movement. Myosin can only bind to actin when the binding sites on actin are exposed by calcium ions.

Actin molecules are bound to the Z line, which forms the borders of the sarcomere. Other bands appear when the sarcomere is relaxed

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