Mechanical characteristics of skinned and intact muscle fibres from the giant barnacle, Balanus nubilus

P. J. Griffiths, J. J. Duchateau, Y. Maeda, J. D. Potter, C. C. Ashley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Intact muscle fibres from Balanus nubilus develop tensions of up to 600 kN sd m-2 during electrical stimulation. The rise of tension occurs with a half-time (177 ms at 12° C) about fivefold longer than that of tetanised frog muscle at the same temperature. The response of myofibrillar bundles to a rapid stretch resembles that of frog muscle but has a yo value (i.e. the size of an instantaneous release necessary to just discharge tension) which is ca. 2.5 times smaller, and phase 2 of the tension transient (the "quick phase") occurs at a rate comparable to that of frog muscle. In contrast, the ATPase activity (0.018 mmoles · kg wet weight-1 · s-1) of this preparation and its maximum shortening velocity (0.15-0.16 muscle lengths · s-1) are both at least fivefold slower than frog muscle. These findings can be accounted for by a cross-bridge cycle in barnacle muscle in which events prior and subsequent to the tension generating step(s) occur at a rate at least fivefold slower than comparable steps in frog muscle, but the step(s) associated with tension development occur at similar rates in the two preparations. Since the rate of mechanical relaxation in barnacle muscle is modified in the presence of intracellular calcium buffers and by depolarisation-induced elevation of the free calcium during the relaxation phase, it is proposed that the time course of relaxation is not determined exclusively by the kinetics of the cross-bridge cycle, but is also dependent on the free calcium concentration during relaxation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-565
Number of pages12
JournalPflügers Archiv
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1990


  • Aequorin
  • Barnacle
  • Calcium
  • Mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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