Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Myofilament is any of the ultramicroscopic filaments, made up of actin and myosin, that are the structural units of a myofibril, or any of the ultramicroscopic threadlike structures composing the myofibrils of striated muscle fibers; thick ones contain myosin, thin ones contain actin, and intermediate ones contain desmin and vimentin.

The filaments of myofibrils constructed from proteins, myofilaments, consist of 2 types, thick and thin. Thin filaments consist primarily of the protein actin; thick filaments consist primarily of the protein myosin.

In striated muscle, such as skeletal and cardiac muscle, the actin and myosin filaments each have a specific and constant length on the order of a few micrometers, far less than the length of the elongated muscle cell. The filaments are organized into repeated subunits along the length of the myofibril. These subunits are called sarcomeres.