Model of calcium movements during activation in the sarcomere of frog skeletal muscle

Biophys J. 1984 May;45(5):913-25. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(84)84238-1.


A model of calcium movement during activation of frog skeletal muscle is described. The model was based on the half sarcomere of a myofibril and included compartments representing the terminal cisternae, the longitudinal sarcoplasmic reticulum, the extramyofibrillar space, and the myofibrillar space. The calcium-binding proteins troponin, parvalbumin, and calsequestrin were present in appropriate locations and with realistic binding kinetics. During activation a time-dependent permeability in the terminal cisternal wall led to calcium release into the myoplasm and its diffusion through the myoplasm longitudinally and radially was computed. After adjustment of three parameters, the model produced a myoplasmic free-calcium concentration that was very similar to those recorded experimentally with calcium indicators. The model has been used to demonstrate the importance of parvalbumin in the relaxation of skeletal muscle, to describe the time course and magnitude of calcium gradients associated with diffusion across the sarcomere, and to estimate the errors associated with the use of aequorin as an intracellular calcium indicator in muscle.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aequorin
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Light
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Myofibrils / metabolism*
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Ranidae
  • Sarcomeres / metabolism*
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism


  • Parvalbumins
  • Aequorin
  • Calcium