The orientation of a cross-bridge is widely used as a parameter in determining the state of muscle. The conventional measurements of orientation, such as that made by wide-field fluorescence microscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) or X-ray diffraction or scattering, report the average orientation of 1012-109 myosin cross-bridges. Under conditions where all the cross-bridges are immobile and assume the same orientation, for example in normal skeletal muscle in rigor, it is possible to determine the average orientation from such global measurements. But in actively contracting muscle, where a parameter indicating orientation fluctuates in time, the measurements of the average value provide no information about cross-bridge kinetics. To avoid problems associated with averaging information from trillions of cross-bridges, it is necessary to decrease the number of observed cross-bridges to a mesoscopic value (i. e. the value affected by fluctuations around the average). In such mesoscopic regimes, the averaging of the signal is minimal and dynamic behavior can be examined in great detail. Examples of mesoscopic analysis on skeletal and cardiac muscle are provided.
- Fluorescence polarization
- Mesoscopic measurements
- Myosin cross-bridge orientation