Muscle fiber contraction involves the cyclical interaction of myosin cross-bridges with actin filaments, linked to hydrolysis of ATP that provides the required energy. We show here the relationship between cross-bridge states, force generation, and Pi release during ramp stretches of active mammalian skeletal muscle fibers at 20°C. The results show that force and Pi release respond quickly to the application of stretch: force rises rapidly, whereas the rate of Pi release decreases abruptly and remains low for the duration of the stretch. These measurements show that biochemical change on the millisecond timescale accompanies the mechanical and structural responses in active muscle fibers. A cross-bridge model is used to simulate the effect of stretch on the distribution of actomyosin cross-bridges, force, and Pi release, with explicit inclusion of ATP, ADP, and Pi in the biochemical states and length-dependence of transitions. In the simulation, stretch causes rapid detachment and reattachment of cross-bridges without release of Pi or ATP hydrolysis.
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