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Myofibrils are composed of smaller structures called myofilaments . There are two main types of myofilaments: thick filaments and thin filaments. Thick filaments are composed of the protein myosin. The primary component of thin filaments is the protein actin.

The thick and thin filaments alternate with each other in a structure called a sarcomere    . The sarcomere is the unit of contraction in a muscle cell. Contraction is stimulated by an electrochemical signal from a nerve cell associated with the muscle fiber. For a muscle cell to contract, the sarcomere must shorten. However, thick and thin filaments do not shorten. Instead, they slide by one another, causing the sarcomere to shorten while the filaments remain the same length. The sliding is accomplished when a molecular extension of myosin, called the myosin head, temporarily binds to an actin filament next to it and through a change in conformation, bends, dragging the two filaments in opposite directions. The myosin head then releases its actin filament, relaxes, and then repeats the process, dragging the two filaments further along each other. The combined activity of many binding sites and repeated movements within the sarcomere causes it to contract. The coordinated contractions of many sarcomeres in a myofibril leads to contraction of the entire muscle cell and ultimately the muscle itself. The movement of the myosin head requires ATP, which provides the energy for the contraction.

Concept in action

View this animation to see how muscle fibers are organized.

Section summary

The human skeleton is an endoskeleton that is composed of the axial and appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is composed of the bones of the skull, ossicles of the ear, hyoid bone, vertebral column, and ribcage. The skull consists of eight cranial bones and 14 facial bones. Six bones make up the ossicles of the middle ear, while the hyoid bone is located in the neck under the mandible. The vertebral column contains 26 bones and surrounds and protects the spinal cord. The thoracic cage consists of the sternum, ribs, thoracic vertebrae, and costal cartilages. The appendicular skeleton is made up of the upper and lower limbs. The pectoral girdle is composed of the clavicles and the scapulae. The upper limb contains 30 bones in the arm, the forearm, and the hand. The pelvic girdle attaches the lower limbs to the axial skeleton. The lower limb includes the bones of the thigh, the leg, and the foot.

The structural classification of joints divides them into fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial joints. The bones of fibrous joints are held together by fibrous connective tissue. Cartilaginous joints are joints in which the bones are connected by cartilage. Synovial joints are joints that have a space between the adjoining bones. The movement of synovial joints includes angular and rotational. Angular movements are produced when the angle between the bones of a joint changes. Rotational movement is the movement of a bone as it rotates around its own longitudinal axis.

The body contains three types of muscle tissue: skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscle. Muscles are composed of individual cells called muscle fibers. Muscle fibers consist of myofilaments composed of the proteins actin and myosin arranged in units called sarcomeres. Contraction of the muscle occurs by the combined action of myosin and actin fibers sliding past each other when the myosin heads bind to the actin fiber, bend, disengage, and then repeat the process.

Questions & Answers

why do humans enhale oxygen and exhale carbondioxide?
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why do humans enhale oxygen and exhale carbondioxide? For the purpose of breaking down the food
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process of protein synthesis
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cytoplasm is fluid of cell.
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two
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two
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comparative anatomy of gymnosperms?
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anatomy of gymnosperms
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glycogen is a protein content
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100
Aadil
on average 18000 times a day when resting.
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Oogenesis is the process that produces sperm
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nephrons are functional units of kidney.
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How so you understand Darwin's theory when this is not what you believe?
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Source:  OpenStax, Concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11487/1.9
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