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Proventriculus of a Marine Annelid: Muscle Preparation with the Longest Recorded Sarcomere

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  • Biological Sciences: Cell Biology
  • Biology


Each muscle of the syllid (Annelida: Polychaeta) proventriculus, the region of the gut posterior to the pharynx, contains a single zigzagging Z band, flanked on each side by a sequence of I-A-H-A-I bands defined by thick (60-90 nm) and thin (5 nm) filaments. The thick filaments show a 14-nm periodicity similar to paramyosin. The muscle cell terminates at the level of the outer I bands. The muscle does not include a complete sarcomere in the strict sense, as defined by a pair of Z bands, but the equivalent H-H distance reaches about 40 μm. Electrophysiological evidence suggests that contraction and relaxation of the cell are, respectively, associated with depolarizing and hyperpolarizing potentials.

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