Muscle contraction and the related "motor proteins" of the cell were traditionally a hard theme to explain to the students. With the help of the virtual reality worlds recently produced by us the students under- stand this difficult theme much faster.
In the 3D environment you explore the whole muscle and proceed to its components - from the muscle fasciculus to the sarcomere. You learn about the sarcolemma, its system of T-tubules and the sarcoplasmic reticulum in order to understand how calcium ions invoke the muscle contraction.
In another virtual reality world you closely examine the structure of the myosin molecules and how they deform after obtaining energy from the ATP. The whole sequence with actin, tropomyosin, calcium binding troponin and finally the myosin molecule walking on the actin filament is shown in another 3D scene.
Muscle contraction overview - two VR scenes lead us from muscle to the sarcomere structure.
Myosin bundle, sliding filaments and actin-myosin interaction - three VR scenes illustrating molecular basis of the muscle contraction.
Sarcoplasmic reticulum function. This VR scene shows how the electrical stimulus is translated into bio- chemically based excitation leading to the start of the sliding of the muscle filaments.
Kinesin and dynein - two VR scenes showing two motor proteins that walk on the microtubules.