Exercise 9.2 - Actin & Myosin-Microscopic Observation of Muscle


Figure 9.2 TEM of striated muscle



  1. Obtain a prepared slide of striated muscle cells. Draw the structure of an individual cell, paying particular attention to the striations. Measure the distance between successive bands of the muscle and indicate these on the drawing.

  2. Compare the image seen in the light microscopic to that in Figure 9.2.

  3. Tease a small fiber from the glycerinated rabbit muscle and place in on a microscope slide. Place a coverslip gently over the muscle fiber and examine with a phase contrast microscope.

  4. Measure the distance between the bands and compare to the distance found in the prepared slide.

  5. Gently lift off the coverslip (or use a second fiber) and add a drop of ATP and a drop of CaCl_2. Return the coverslip and immediately monitor the cells through the microscope. Once again measure the distance between the bands.


To observe the contraction of the muscle, carefully add the ATP and Ca^+^+ to the edge of the coverslip and allow it to diffuse under the coverslip. You may also time the contraction process with a stopwatch. Finally, variations in the ion concentration as well as alternative ions can be added to other muscle fibers to test the effects of ions on muscle contraction.

Return to Table of Contents

Cell Biology Laboratory Manual
Dr. William H. Heidcamp, Biology Department, Gustavus Adolphus College,
St. Peter, MN 56082 -- cellab@gac.edu