Genetics & Health


What is the sliding filament theory and how is tropomyosin involved?

1 year ago


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Dejuan Crooks

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The initiation and execution of muscle contraction occur in the following sequential steps. 1. An action potential travels along a motor nerve to its endings on muscle fibers. 2. At each ending, the nerve secretes a small amount of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. 3. Acetylcholine acts on a local area of the muscle fiber membrane to open acetylcholine-gated cation channels through protein molecules floating in the membrane. 4. The opening of acetylcholine-gated channels allows large quantities of sodium ions to diffuse to the interior of the muscle fiber membrane. This action causes a local depolarization that in turn leads to the opening of voltage-gated sodium channels, which initiates an action potential at the membrane. 5. The action potential travels along the muscle fiber membrane in the same way that action potentials travel along nerve fiber membranes. 6. The action potential depolarizes the muscle membrane, and much of the action potential electricity flows through the center of the muscle fiber. Here it causes the sarcoplasmic reticulum to release large quantities of calcium ions that have been stored within this reticulum.

7. The calcium ions initiate attractive forces between the actin and myosin filaments, causing them to slide alongside each other, which is the contractile process. 8. After a fraction of a second, the calcium ions are pumped back into the sarcoplasmic reticulum by a Ca2+ membrane pump and remain stored in the reticulum until a new muscle action potential comes along; this removal of calcium ions from the myofibrils causes the muscle contraction to cease.

the sliding filament theory describes muscle contraction as mentioned above

muscle contracts by sliding of the actin over myosin



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Emerson Li

The theory is about how muscle contracts.

The process of muscle contraction is as below:

1) action potential stimulates muscle cells and depolarises sarcolemma and sarcoplasmic reticulum through T-


2) sarcoplasmic reticulum releases calcium ions into sarcoplasm;

3) calcium ions bind to troponin to change its shape to pull tropomyosin out of actin myosin binding site;

4) binding site is exposed for myosin head to bind to form actin-myosin cross bridge;

5) calcium ions activate ATPase to break down ATP into ADP and Pi to provide energy for muscle contraction;

6) energy is used to move myosin head which pulls actin filament along rowing action;

7) myosin head detaches from actin filament and reattach to different binding site further along actin filament.

Tropomyosin is involved in muscle contraction.

1) tropomyosin at first blocks myosin binding site;

2) tropomyosin is pulled by troponin out of myosin binding site, when calcium ions bind to troponin to change its


2) binding site is exposed for myosin head to bind to form actin-myosin cross bridge;

3) myosin head pulls actin filament along rowing action;

4) myosin head detaches from actin filament and reattach to different binding site further along actin filament.

Kailavya Kumar

Sliding filament theory outline the process by which muscles contract.

An impulse reaches the muscle fibre - the electrical impulse is transmitted through the sarcoplasm with the help of the T tubules in the sarcolemma.

The electrical impulse causes voltage gated Ca2+ channels to open in the sarcoplasmic reticulum therefore allowing Ca2+ ions to diffuse into sarcoplasm.

Ca 2+ binds to troponin which then moves the tropomyosin filament hence exposing the binding site for the myosin head to bind to form a cross bridge.

The myosin head flexes and pulls the actin filament along and create tension. ADP present on myosin head is released.

ATP replaces the ADP causing conformational change in shape of myosin head therefor it is no longer complementary to myosin binding site on actin filament hence myosin head detaches.

ATP converted to ADP and Pi and releases energy for the myosin head to unflex and revert back to original position for the process to repeat again.

The tropomyosin is a protein which binds to the myosin binding site on the actin filament - prevents the binding of myosin head at rest so that muscles only contract when stimulated.

Hope that helps


Sliding filament theory or power stroke explains how actin and myosin filaments slide over each other to produce a muscle contraction in skeletal muscle. Once a nerve impulse/action potential travels down the the T-tubule deep into a muscle fibre, it causes the release of calcium ions from sarcoplasmic reticulum. The calcium ions bind to troponin (a protein molecule attached to tropomyosin) which causes a conformational change and pulls the tropomyosin filaments aside. This exposes the myosin head binding site on actin filaments, The myosin head is now able to bind onto actin filament forming a cross bridge pulling actin filament. ATP molecule attaches to myosin head, hydrolysis of which causes the myosin head to detach and come to original shape before binding to the next myosin head binding site.

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The sliding filament theory details the process of muscle contraction. Two protein filaments inside the muscle (actin & myosin) are crucial to this process. Myosin heads bind to actin protein filaments, leading to cross bridge formation. The myosin heads perform a power stroke motion, leading to the actin filaments sliding past the myosin heads. This results in muscle contraction as a result of the sliding filament theory taking place.

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The sliding filament theory is the mechanism by which muscles contract. When a muscle is stimulated by a motor neuron there is a release of CA^2+ ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The Ca^2+ ions then bind to the troponin molecules which are attached to the tropomyosin filament on the actin filament. This binding triggers a conformational change in tropomyosin revealing myosin binding sites on the actin filament. Myosin is then able to bind to the actin filament and can 'nod' along the filament using ATP-hydrolysis. This movement causes the Z line to come closer together causing a muscle contraction.

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Muhammad Hamayoon

The sliding filament theory explains muscle contraction. During contraction, myosin filaments slide along actin filaments. Tropomyosin, associated with actin, regulates muscle contraction by blocking or allowing myosin binding sites on actin.

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The sliding filament theory explains how muscles contract once the nervous system receives signals to do. Muscles are made up of contractile units called sarcomeres with thin actin and thick myosin filaments (with the myosin heads binding to the actin-binding site) which then overlap resulting in the shortening of the filament and hence a contraction.

The actin filaments are closely linked with tropomyosin and troponin which are 2 proteins involved in regulation. Once, Ca2+ enters the cell (due to the nervous system) it binds to troponin which then changes shape causing tropomyosin to move. Tropomyosin normally blocks the binding site on actin so movement causes the binding site to be open and therefore allowing myosin to bind.

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Neophytos Kouphou

The sliding filament theory explain how muscles in the human body contract to produce force.

The steps of this theory are outlined below:

  • Muscle Activation: The motor nerve stimulates a motor impulse to pass down a neuron to the neuromuscular junction. It stimulates the sarcoplasmic reticulum to release calcium into muscle cells.

  • Muscle Contraction: Calcium floods into the muscle cell and it binds with troponin allowing actin and myosin to bind.  The myosin and actin cross-bridges bind and contract using ATP.

  • Recharging: ATP is resynthesized which allows actin and myosin to maintain their strong binding state.

  • Relaxation: Relaxation takes place when stimulation of the nerve stops.  Calcium is then pumped back into the sarcoplasmic reticulum which breaks the link between actin and myosin. Myosin and actin return to their unbound state causing the muscle to relax. Alternatively, relaxation (failure) also occurs when ATP is no longer available.

Hope this helps.

Rashmi Sivasengh

The sliding filament theory is a suggested mechanism of contraction of striated muscles, actin and myosin filaments to be precise, which overlap each other resulting in the shortening of the muscle fibre length. Actin (thin) filaments combined with myosin (thick filaments) conduct cellular movements

Maddy Workman

The sliding filament theory describes how muscles contract. The two main components are myosin (a thick muscle filament which has characteristic heads protruding from it at regular intervals) and actin (a thin myofilament featuring a myosin binding site).

The myosin binding sites on actin are blocked by tropomyosin. When an action potential arrives at the muscle, this triggers calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. When the calcium binds to tropomyosin, it pulls it aside leaving the myosin binding sites on the actin free and available.

Myosin heads can now bind to the myosin binding sites on the actin. This is called an actin-myosin cross bridge. A molecule of ATP is hydrolysed which triggers bending of the myosin head, which pulls the actin along. The myosin head then detaches using a molecule of ATP, and binds to the actin at a point further along. The process of 'head bending' is repeated and thus the actin is pulled along by myosin and the muscle contracts.

The analogy of rowing is often used to describe the repeated motion of the myosin head binding, like a boat ploughing through water due to the repeated oar action.

Dr Ben Gough

The sliding filament theory is a concept that explains how muscles contract at a molecular level. It describes the mechanism by which muscle fibers generate force by sliding past each other, leading to the shortening of the muscle and the generation of movement.

Here are the key components and steps involved in the sliding filament theory:

(1) Actin and Myosin Filaments: Muscles are made up of smaller units called sarcomeres, which contain two main types of protein filaments: actin and myosin. Actin filaments are thin and form a scaffold within the sarcomere, while myosin filaments are thicker and arranged in a staggered manner between the actin filaments.

(2) Cross-Bridge Formation: When a muscle contracts, myosin heads (projections on the myosin filaments) bind to specific sites on the actin filaments, forming cross-bridges.

(3) ATP and Energy Release: The cross-bridge formation triggers a series of events that require energy. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is utilized to provide the energy needed for the contraction process.

(4) Power Stroke: After the cross-bridge forms, the myosin heads pivot, pulling the actin filaments towards the center of the sarcomere. This action is known as the power stroke, and it causes the sarcomere to shorten.

(5) Tropomyosin and Troponin Regulation: Tropomyosin is a filamentous protein that lies along the grooves of the actin filaments, covering the myosin-binding sites on actin when the muscle is at rest. Troponin, another protein complex, is associated with tropomyosin and helps regulate muscle contraction.

(6) Calcium Ion Release: When a nerve impulse reaches the muscle, it triggers the release of calcium ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (a structure within muscle cells). These calcium ions bind to troponin, causing a conformational change in the troponin-tropomyosin complex.

(7) Exposure of Myosin-Binding Sites: When calcium ions bind to troponin, it causes tropomyosin to shift its position, uncovering the myosin-binding sites on actin.

(8) Cross-Bridge Cycling: With the myosin-binding sites exposed, the myosin heads can bind to actin, initiating the repeated cross-bridge cycling of attachment, power stroke, release, and reattachment as long as ATP and calcium ions are available.

(9) Continued Muscle Contraction: As long as the nerve impulses persist and calcium ions remain bound to troponin, cross-bridge cycling continues, leading to sustained muscle contraction.

Note this mechanisms is only found in skeletal and cardiac muscle, not smooth muscle.

I hope this helps.

Dr Ben

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The sliding filament theory describes how muscles contract by the sliding of actin and myosin filaments within the muscle fibre or sarcomere. Myosin heads attach to an actin filament, bend to pull the actin filaments closer together, then release, reattach, and pull again. So, it is a cycle of repetitive events that causes actin and myosin filaments to slide over each other.

Tropomyosin is a protein that regulates muscle contraction and relaxation. In a resting sarcomere, tropomyosin blocks the binding of myosin heads to filamentous actin, therefore there is no sliding mechanism or contraction of the muscle.

To enable muscle contraction once again, calcium ions are released enabling tropomyosin to change conformation and uncover the myosin-binding site on an actin molecule.

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Puran Thumber

For muscle contraction, there are actin and myosin filaments. Calcium binds to troponin and changes the shape of one of muscle filament bands. This causes tropomyosin to move and expose myosin binding sites on actin filaments. The actin and myosin filaments form a bridge and slide over each other which causes the muscle fibres to shorten and hence contract.

Sydney Barnes

The sliding filament theory is a model of how muscle contraction takes place at a molecular level in skeletal muscle fibres.

There are two types of filaments involved: actin (thin filament) and myosin (thick filament). The actin filament is tightly wrapped in a thinner filament called tropomyosin and also spherical proteins called troponin. The troponin is what tightly binds tropomyosin to the actin filament.

Calcium ions released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum target the troponin proteins and bind to them causing a change in shape. This ultimately loosens the tropomyosin filament thus the actin is less tightly wrapped. In addition to this, myosin binding sites on the actin filament are now exposed.

The sliding filament theory describes the action myosin makes as it "slides" past the actin filament to mediate muscle contraction. The myosin heads bind to the now exposed myosin binding sites on the actin and undergo a series of chemical reactions resulting in the myosin being pulled up each consecutive myosin binding site (much like a rowing team going up a river). Finally, ATP is required to shift the myosin heads back to their starting position to bind to the next myosin binding site.

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