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Muscle contraction: a mechanical perspective

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Lev Truskinovsky, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and École Polytechnique
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Apr 4 2011, 3:10PM

In this talk we discuss a possibility to construct a purely mechanical analog of the conventional chemo-mechanical model of muscle contraction. To remain in the mechanical framework we abandon the description of kinetics of the power stroke in terms of jump processes and instead resolve the continuous stochastic evolution on an appropriate energy landscape. In general physical terms, we replace hard spin chemical variables by soft spin variables representing mechanical snap-springs. This allows us to treat the case of small and even disappearing barriers and, more importantly, to incorporate the mechanical representation of the power stroke into the theory of Brownian ratchets. The model provides the simplest non-chemical description for the main stages of the biochemical Lymn-Taylor cycle and may be used as a basis for the artificial micro-mechanical reproduction of the muscle contraction mechanism.