X-ray diffraction through living muscle

How does the action of millions of molecular motors enable muscle, nature’s most versatile material, to power movement? Actin (blue) and Myosin (red) form the contractile lattice that underlies muscle’s motility (lower left). Spacing between filaments (d10 and d20 — lower right) can change as the muscle is strained. Small-angle x-ray diffraction allows us to […]

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How temperature makes moth muscle bifunctional.

Temperature is one of the most important variables affecting an animal’s physiology. Animal’s thermoregulate in a variety of ways from behaviorally seeking out warmer or cooler parts of their habitat to having extensive heat exchange strategies in their circulatory systems. Large moths like Manduca sexta typically spend the first moments before flight performing a behavior […]

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Precision phase control in flight muscles

The established perspective of flight control in insects holds that their remarkable maneuverability arises from neural modulation of relatively small steering muscles acting in concert with the regular, clock-like activation of larger power muscles. Yet the power output of these main muscles is very sensitive to subtle timing changes in neural activation. To test if […]

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An intact-limb workloop reveals how cockroach muscle changes function

Intact-joint workloop preparation for examining muscle function in situ to reveal how neural feedback combines with mechanics to change how a muscle controls movement. Keeping the leg intact preserves natural oxygen and nutrient supply. In the previous project we altered the commands the cockroach’s brain was sending to its muscle in real-time while the animal […]

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