By driving the localized contraction of subcellular muscle regions, a single motor neuron reverses the flow of material in the Caenorhabditis elegans pharynx, a neuromuscular pump, converting feeding into spitting.
Elastic forces generated by the giant protein titin define both passive and active tension of skeletal muscle fibers and protect the sarcomeric myosin filaments from severe disruption during contraction.
In situ measurements of muscular twitch speed reveal one of the fastest vertebrate limb muscles on record, which evolved in association with extravagant courtship displays that include rapid limb movements.
Vertebrate superfast muscles employ similar excitation–contraction strategies but distinct myosin heavy chain genes to allow superfast performance, revealing a maximum speed that cannot be overcome without sacrificing neural control.
Pericytes surrounding capillaries in the retina contain α-smooth muscle actin, demonstrating that pericytes have the necessary molecular machinery to change capillary diameter during neurovascular coupling.