Email Print Share

3D model of filaments during contraction of muscle

3D model of filaments

A 3D computer model of filaments of myosin (in red) reaching out and tugging along filaments of actin (in blue, looking like stands of pearls twined together) during the contraction of a muscle. The model, created by C. David Williams as part of his research on force regulation and the length-tension relationship in muscle, enables researchers to consider the geometry and physics at work on the filaments when a muscle bulges. Williams earned his doctorate at the University of Washington (UW), while conducting this research and is currently a postdoctorate at Harvard University.

The visualization lets researchers see how the individual motor proteins generating force interact with each other to regulate the overall level of force the system develops. The 3D nature of such models also allows researchers to investigate how the spatial arrangement of a muscle's contractile filaments alter the force generated as the muscle goes from very long to very short lengths.

The work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (grant IOS 10-22471, awarded to T.L. Daniel and T.I. Irving to support non-modeling aspects of this research).

To learn more, see the UW news story Biceps bulge, calves curve, 50-year-old assumptions muscled aside. (Date of Image: May 2013)

Credit: ęC. David Williams, University of Washington
See other images like this on your iPhone or iPad download NSF Science Zone on the Apple App Store.

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (4.2 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.