Energy Interconversion in Sarcoplasmic Membranes

  • W. Hasselbach
  • F. U. Beil
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


The cytoplasmic calcium level changes more extensively and more rapidly in muscle than in any other tissue. That is because muscle contractile proteins need 0.05–0.50 μmol Ca2+ { ml-1 fiber water for activation (cf. Hasselbach, 1975a; Ebashi, 1976). In muscles composed of thick and fast contracting fibers, calcium ions cannot be supplied from the plasma membrane or from the extracellular space. Diffusion is too slow to account for the rapid inset of mechanical activity. Nature has circumvented this difficulty by the development of an elaborated network of internal membranes, the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). In 1961 and 1964 (Hasselbach and Makinose, 1961; Hasselbach, 1964) we showed that isolated vesicular fragments of the SR, as well as the SR membranes in situ, can store large amounts of calcium and that the vesicular membranes can thereby reduce the level of ionized calcium in the external medium below 10-7 M. This accumulation is brought by an ATP-driven calcium pump. Subsequently, this calcium pump became an essential element in the calcium concept of excitation contraction coupling. It is assumed:
  1. 1.

    That calcium is released from the cisternal elements of the SR into which it has been transported by the pump.

  2. 2.

    The calcium pump in the reticular membranes causes relaxation by lowering the calcium level and thereby removing calcium from the contractile proteins (Weber and Winicur, 1961). Storage and release of calcium seem to be the sole functions of the SR membranes.



Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium Uptake Calcium Release Calcium Pump Acetyl Phosphate 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Hasselbach
  • F. U. Beil

There are no affiliations available

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