Synchrotron radiation techniques have enabled us to record meridional x-ray diffraction patterns from frog sartorius muscle at resolutions ranging from approximately 2,800 to 38 nm (i.e., overlapping with the optical microscope and the region normally accessible with low angle diffraction cameras). These diffraction patterns represent the transform of the low resolution structure of muscle projected on the sarcomere axis and sampled by its repeat. Altering the sarcomere length results in the sampling of different parts of this transform, which induces changes in the positions and the integrated intensities of the diffraction maxima. This effect has been used to determine the transform of the mass projection on the muscle axis in a quasicontinuous fashion. The results reveal the existence of maxima arising from long-range periodicities in the structure. Determination of the zeroes in the transforms has been used to obtain phase information from which electron density maps have been calculated. The x-ray diffraction diagrams and the resulting electron density maps show the existence of a series of mass bands, disposed transversely to the sarcomere axis and distributed at regular intervals. A set of these transverse structures is associated with thin filaments, and their 102.0-nm repeat suggests a close structural relationship with their known molecular components. A second set, spaced by approximately 230.0 nm, is also present; from diffraction theory one has to conclude that this repeat simultaneously exists in thick and thin filament regions.

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