Diffraction rings obtained from a suspension of skeletal myofibrils by laser light illumination. Study of internal structure of sarcomeres

S. Ishiwata, N. Okamura

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    Diffraction rings corresponding to the first, second, and third order were obtained by laser light illumination from a suspension of rabbit glycerinated psoas myofibrils (diameter, 1-2 μm; average length of the straight region, 44 μm; average sarcomere length, 2.2-2.6 μm) of which the optical thickness was appropriately chosen. Dispersed myofibrils were nearly randomly oriented in two dimensions, so that the effects of muscle volume were minimized; these effects usually interfere significantly with a quantitative analysis of laser optical diffraction in the fiber system. The diameters of diffraction rings represented the average sarcomere length. By using this system, we confirmed the ability of the unit cell (sarcomere) structure model to explain the intensity change of diffraction lines accompanying the dissociation from both ends of thick filaments in a high salt solution. The length of an A-band estimated from the relative intensity of diffraction rings and that directly measured on phase-contrast micrographs coincided well with each other. Also, we found that myofibrils with a long sarcomere length shorten to a slack length accompanying the decrease in overlap between thick and thin filaments produced by the dissociation of thick filaments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1113-1120
    Number of pages8
    JournalBiophysical Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1989


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biophysics

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