From my understanding, the brain sends electrical pulses through neurons to different part of the body to initiate a movement. My question is, how is the movement realized? For example, in a train, steam engine is used to convert heat energy to mechanical energy to move the engine. Similarly, in the body, I understand the energy is stored in chemical form. How is this converted to the mechanical motion of a body part?

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    – tyersome
    Nov 8 '19 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ I do not work in Biology and I'm long out of school,so it is not a homework question. When I searched the above, I didn't get any insight into how the conversions work.Perhaps I didn't use the proper terms involved. My doubts were clarified with Joce's answer. $\endgroup$
    – Analon92
    Nov 9 '19 at 15:04
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    – tyersome
    Nov 9 '19 at 17:55

The conversion from chemical to mechanical energy is in general done by molecular motors which perform a power-stroke, using the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or more rarely of GTP to power a change of their conformation while bound to cytoskeletal elements.

Molecular motors include myosins, which is the molecular family powering muscles in interaction with actin filaments but also other cells e.g. for their motility or for morphogenesis. animation of muscle contraction

There are also kinesins and dyneins, not used for muscle function, but which perform e.g. transport of "cargo" organelles along microtubules.

An alternative way to produce mechanical energy is via ion pumps, as is the case in flagellar rotors.

  • $\begingroup$ @Joce, your answer is exactly what I was looking for. I mentioned brain and neurons only to clarify that I had an idea about how those are involved, but that was not what I wanted to be answered. I thought it would be pretty clear. Sorry for the misunderstanding. $\endgroup$
    – Analon92
    Nov 9 '19 at 15:02

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