The spacing between the thick myofilaments of muscle fibers from the walking legs of crayfish (Orconectes) was determined by optical transform analysis of electron micrograph plates of fixed single fibers and by X-ray diffraction of living single fibers. Sarcomere lengths were determined by light diffraction prior to fixation and prior to the in vivo experiments. From these combined measurements, it is demonstrated that the unit-cell volume of the myofilament lattice is constant during muscle shortening, indicating that the myofilament lattice works in a constant-volume manner. It is further demonstrated with X-ray diffraction measurements of living single fibers that the myofilament lattice continues to work at constant volume after the sarcolemma is removed from the fiber. This indicates that the constant-volume behavior of muscle is inherent to the myofilament lattice.

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