Towards bridging the gap from molecular forces to the movement of organisms

Bjørn Gilbert Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearch


Muscles are responsible for generating the forces required for the movement of multicellular organisms. Microscopically, these forces arise as a consequence of motor proteins (myosin) pulling and sliding along actin filaments. Current knowledge states that the molecular forces between actin and myosin are linear in nature [Huxley and Simmons (1971) Nature (London) 233, 533-538] and that the physiologically observed non-linearities (e.g. Hill's force-velocity relationship) are a consequence of non-linearities in the attachment/detachment ratios. However, this view has been disputed recently [Nielsen (2002) J. Theor. Biol. 219, 99-119], inspired by results from protein pulling experiments showing that proteins often have non-linear entropic force-extension profiles. Irrespective of the case, the present study aims at integrating such basic force-producing properties into large-scale simulations of muscle, which may accommodate macroscopic properties of muscles, e.g. the catch-like effect, the Henneman principle and accurate twitch force and motor unit size distributions. As a test of the underlying principles, a model of the biceps caput breve muscle is presented and compared with experimental data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiochemical Society. Transactions
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)694-696
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventBioScience - Glasgow (UK)
Duration: 1 Jan 2004 → …
Conference number: 1


CityGlasgow (UK)
Period01/01/2004 → …


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