Dr. William O. Williams

Mathematical Sciences

Carnegie Mellon University


Models of Muscle Contraction


Skeletal (striated) muscle offers a rare opportunity in biological  modeling, in that its structure features a regular and consistent  geometry. The cartoon of units of septagonal-packings of myocin and  actin molecular-chain-filaments sliding past one another powered by  rotation of myocin cross-bridges, only fully experimentally confirmed  in 1999, has been used as a model beginning in 1957 with the work of A.  F. Huxely. I will discuss some improved models of the Huxley type which  offer significant correlation with a variety of experiments.  But these  models  also fail  to account for other experimental observations and I  will discuss current attempts to improve them.