'Sarcomeres' of smooth muscle: functional characteristics and ultrastructural evidence.

Title'Sarcomeres' of smooth muscle: functional characteristics and ultrastructural evidence.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsHerrera, AM, McParland, BE, Bienkowska, A, Tait, R, Paré, PD, Seow, CY
JournalJ Cell Sci
Volume118
IssuePt 11
Pagination2381-92
Date Published2005 Jun 1
ISSN0021-9533
KeywordsActins, Actomyosin, Animals, Isotonic Contraction, Myocytes, Smooth Muscle, Myosins, Swine, Trachea
Abstract

Smooth muscle cells line the walls of hollow organs and control the organ dimension and mechanical function by generating force and changing length. Although significant progress has been made in our understanding of the molecular mechanism of actomyosin interaction that produces sliding of actin (thin) and myosin (thick) filaments in smooth muscle, the sarcomeric structure akin to that in striated muscle, which allows the sliding of contractile filaments to be translated into cell shortening has yet to be elucidated. Here we show evidence from porcine airway smooth muscle that supports a model of malleable sarcomeric structure composed of contractile units assembled in series and in parallel. The geometric organization of the basic building blocks (contractile units) within the assembly and the dimension of individual contractile units can be altered when the muscle cells adapt to different lengths. These structural alterations can account for the different length-force relationships of the muscle obtained at different adapted cell lengths. The structural malleability necessary for length adaptation precludes formation of a permanent filament lattice and explains the lack of aligned filament arrays in registers, which also explains why smooth muscle is 'smooth'.

DOI10.1242/jcs.02368
Alternate JournalJ. Cell. Sci.
PubMed ID15923651