Synchrotron radiation X-ray diffraction studies on muscle: past, present, and future

  • Hiroyuki IwamotoEmail author


X-ray diffraction is a technique to study the structure of materials at spatial resolutions up to an atomic scale. In the field of life science, the X-ray diffraction technique is especially suited to study materials having periodical structures, such as protein crystals, nucleic acids, and muscle. Among others, muscle is a dynamic structure and the molecular events occurring during muscle contraction have been the main interest among muscle researchers. In early days, the laboratory X-ray generators were unable to deliver X-ray flux strong enough to resolve the dynamic molecular events in muscle. This situation has dramatically been changed by the advent of intense synchrotron radiation X-rays and advanced detectors, and today X-ray diffraction patterns can be recorded from muscle at sub-millisecond time resolutions. In this review, we shed light mainly on the technical aspects of the history and the current status of the X-ray diffraction studies on muscle and discuss what will be made possible for muscle studies by the advance of new techniques.


Synchrotron radiation X-ray diffraction Muscle Time-resolved measurements X-ray microbeam Coherent diffractive imaging 



I would like to express my thanks to Dr. C. dos Remedios for his critical reading and suggestions to the manuscript.


This publication was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP19K06777.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Hiroyuki Iwamoto declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


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Copyright information

© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research InstituteSayo-gunJapan

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