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Explain the role of calcium in the regulation of muscle contraction.

Explain the role of calcium in the regulation of muscle contraction.

Answer in physiology
Course: B.Sc

Calcium is necessary for proper functioning in many areas of the body including nerve conduction, muscle contraction etc. Calcium triggers contraction by reaction with regulatory proteins that in the absence of calcium prevent interaction of actin and myosin. Two different regulatory systems are found in different muscles. In actin-linked regulation troponin and tropomyosin regulate actin by blocking sites on actin required for complex formation with myosin. In myosin-linked regulation sites on myosin are blocked in the absence of calcium. The major features of actin control are as follows: there is a requirement for tropomyosin and for a troponin complex having three different subunits with different functions, the actin displays a cooperative behaviour, and a movement of tropomyosin occurs controlled by the calcium binding on troponin.

Calcium binding and regulation of molluscan myosins depend on the presence of regulatory light chains. It is proposed that the light chains function by sterically blocking myosin sites in the absence of calcium, and that the “off” state of myosin requires cooperation between the two myosin heads.