Towards a Unified Theory of Muscle Contraction. I: Foundations Academic Article uri icon


  • Molecular models of contractility in striated muscle require an integrated description of the action of myosin motors, firstly in the filament lattice of the half-sarcomere. Existing models do not adequately reflect the biochemistry of the myosin motor and its sarcomeric environment. The biochemical actin-myosin-ATP cycle is reviewed, and we propose a model cycle with two 4- to 5-nm working strokes, where phosphate is released slowly after the first stroke. A smaller third stroke is associated with ATP-induced detachment from actin. A comprehensive model is defined by applying such a cycle to all myosin-S1 heads in the half-sarcomere, subject to generic constraints as follows: (a) all strain-dependent kinetics required for actin-myosin interactions are derived from reaction-energy landscapes and applied to dimeric myosin, (b) actin-myosin interactions in the half-sarcomere are controlled by matching rules derived from the structure of the filaments, so that each dimer may be associated with a target zone of three actin sites, and (c) the myosin and actin filaments are treated as elastically extensible. Numerical predictions for such a model are presented in the following paper.


publication date

  • October 2008