Action Potentials In The Mojave Rattlesnake

1100 Words 4 Pages
Mojave Toxin in the Mojave Rattlesnake

Neurotoxins are an often studied, naturally occurring set of chemicals with vast potential toward a variety of applications. These toxins are produced by countless different species of animals: amphibians, insects, arachnids, and even birds, just to name a few. Neurotoxins, a specific class of toxins, act by impairing or artificially enhancing neurotransmission at the pre-synaptic or post-synaptic level (Camp & Gilbert, 2014, para. 1-5). Neurotoxins affect an animal’s central nervous system by disrupting the flow of action potentials. These action potentials are affected because the responses of inhibiting and excitatory potentials throw off the balance of the nerve firing.
The animal of interest is
…show more content…
The cell body is where the dendrites receive the electrical impulse from another nerve cell and start a new action potential. The cell body then deviates to the axon hillock at the base of the cell body, where the action potential begins to propagate. To propagate an action potential, several steps must occur. The cell will first depolarize, meaning the sign inside the cell membrane will flip and amplify toward an electrical signal. This then triggers the cellular response for the action potential. Once the cell begins to hyperpolarize, sodium channels open up and allow sodium ions to flood into the membrane. Once the concentration of sodium ions have been let in, the sodium channel is inactivated. Once the inactivation gate is closed, potassium channels open up so the cell can depolarize. This action allows the cell to restore itself to resting membrane potential. The sodium channels then become closed, and the process is restarted and an action potential has been fully propagated. Another action potential can then be fired …show more content…
Through the genetic diversity, the Mojave rattlesnake is the only snake to have developed this specific type of neurotoxin. However, there is an interesting variation of the venom within the genus. The South American rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus terrificus) is closely related to the Mojave rattlesnake. It differs slightly, because the South American rattlesnake possesses a crotoxin, whose genetic composition is only slightly different than that of the Mojave rattlesnake (Aird, Kaiser, Lewis, & Kruggel, 1985, p. 7055). The toxicity of these two venoms is similar and produces similar effects, but the lethal amount of venom needed to kill its prey varies. It’s also interesting to note that the genetic variation of venom in the Mojave rattlesnake deviates according to what the rattlesnake

Related Documents

Related Topics