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J Exp Zool. 1975 Nov;194(2):379-407.

Structural and functional heterogeneity in an insect muscle.


Singing muscles of the katydid, Neoconocephalus robustus (Insecta, Tettigoniidae) are neurogenic, yet perform at contraction-relaxation frequencies as high as 212 Hz (Josephson and Halverson, '71). The mechanical and electrical responses of different bands of one of these muscles (the dorsal longitudinal muscle, DLM) has been examined with respect to ultrastructural features of each part which may be related to muscle performance. The DLM is composed of three bands and is innervated by four motoneurones. The cell bodies of three of these motoneurones occur ipsilaterally in the prothroracic ganglion; the cell body of the other motoneurone is contralateral in the mesothoracic ganglion. Three of the motoneurones (as yet unidentified fast axons) initiate extraordinarily fast twitches (rise time equal 7.3 msec, half duration equals 14.3 msec, 25 C), the fourth (an unidentified slower axon) evokes twitches which are considerably slower (rise time equals 18.9 msec, half duration equals 5.10 msec). Whereas the ventral and medial bands of the muscle are innervated only by fast axons (some fibers of the medial band are doubly innervated), the dorsal band is innervated by both a fast axon and the slower axon. A few fibers of the dorsal band are doubly innervated. The structure of fibers from the ventral and medial bands is very similar, with short sarcomeres (4.0 and 4.3 mum, respectively) and thin strap-like myofibrils delineated by well-developed sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Twenty-four percent of the volume of ventral band fibers is SR and the diffusion distance from SR to the center of the adjacent myofibril averages 0.083 mum. Twenty percent of the medial band fiber volume is SR, with a diffusion distance of 0.118 mum. Ventral and medial band fibers contain about 40% mitochondria, and 33% myofibrils. The dorsal band fibers have longer sarcomeres (9.5 mum), and only 10% of the fiber volume is SR. The muscle fibrils of the dorsal band are larger and consequently the diffusion distance is greater (0.227 mum) than in the ventral and medial bands. Mitochondria comprise 23% of the volume of dorsal band fibers. Most dorsal band mitochondria are aggregated into distinct clumps. Although some dorsal band fibers are innervated by a fast axon and some by the slower axon, the dorsal band fibers are structurally homogeneous, suggesting that neurotrophic effects are not important in maintaining the structure of dorsal band fibers. The mechanical-electrical performance and ultrastructure of the ventral and medial bands suggest their roll as fast, metabolically active but weak muscles, used in singing; the dorsal band as a slower but stronger muscle, perhaps involved in postural movements of the wing during singing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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