Writing Prompt Membrane potentials are established by diverse transport mechanisms and used to power many different- important cellular processes across all three domains of life. Choose a case study


Writing Prompt

Membrane potentials are established by diverse transport mechanisms and used to power many different, important cellular processes across all three domains of life. Choose a case study from the list below and analyze the case in two parts.

Your explanation should be understandable for an audience who has a basic understanding of membrane transport and membrane potentials, but is excited to understand more about specific cases where these processes matter.

Your responses for parts 1 and 2 should be clearly separated in your written response.  Your thoughts should be detailed and well developed in ~400 words per section. Write in complete sentences and paragraph format (no bullet points) .

Case Study: Neuromuscular junctions and acetylcholine


Part 1

Describe mechanistically how membrane transport and membrane potential work in the case study you have selected. Refer to the textbook (Essential Cell Biology) to:

  • Explain how your cell established the relevant membrane potential to do carry out this work.
  • Identify the ion transporters the cell uses to establish its membrane potential.
  • Describe the type of energy that the powers membrane transport the cell uses to establish its membrane potential.
  • Name which ions are transported to establish the membrane potential.
  • Identify the ion transporters, and describe the ions’ relative concentrations on either side of the cell membrane;
  • Describe the cellular function, in molecular detail, that depends on the discharge of this membrane potential.
  • Explain why that cellular function important for the whole organism’s survival.
  • Identify the molecular signal (if any) that triggers membrane potential discharge;
  • Name the important steps that occur as ions move across the membrane when this membrane potential is discharged.  This should include a descriptions of what ions move and through what kinds of ion transporters/channels.


Part 2

Describe an example where an important function in your case study is disrupted and discuss its implications for the organism. This could be an environmental condition (for example, changes in environmental pH or perturbations in the body’s sodium levels), toxin, or drug. Here, you will likely need to do some independent research and reading. Your response should:

  • Identify and name a perturbation (condition, toxin, or drug) that produces a significant disruption
  • Explain in molecular detail  the mechanism by which this perturbation disrupts your process by altering the flow of ions across the membrane.  If it is a drug, what does it bind to and inhibit?  Does this change the membrane potential?  If an environmental condition, how does this impact membrane potential?
  • Explain the physiological consequences for the organism of this disruption.

P.S. I uploaded 7 files for the reference. Also you can do the reference on Essential Cell Biology, 4th edition chapter 11 and 12. Since the file is too large, I can’t upload to here. I can send you the link afterward in the chat if I accept you.

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