• What is happening to the electrical potential of a neuron when it generates an action potential?

Read the case “”Bad Fish” before starting on this discussion.
For your INITIAL POST, answer the following questions:
• As mentioned in the case descriiption, tetrodotoxin is a molecule that blocks voltage-gated sodium ion channels. What is a voltage-gated sodium ion channel? What is it made of? What is its function? Why do sodium ions need channels in order to move into and out of cells?
• Describe the process involved in the movement of ions through these channels.
• When nerve cells are at rest, there is an unequal amount of positive and negative charges on either side of a nerve cell membrane. This charge difference is called an electrical potential. Describe this “potential” when the neuron is at rest (resting potential).
• What is happening to the electrical potential of a neuron when it generates an action potential? What is the function of the action potential in neurons?
• Describe the role of sodium ions and sodium channels in the action potential.
• What would happen to a neuron if it were exposed to tetrodotoxin? Be specific regarding its effect on the ability of a neuron to communicate.
• Now that you have addressed some of the basic biology of this case, explain why Dr. Westwood experienced numbness after eating the pufferfish meal.
• Paralysis is a term used to describe the loss of function of muscle. If tetrodotoxin’s effect is on neurons, why did Dr. Westwood experience paralysis?
• There are many excellent websites that discuss tetrodotoxin. Do an Internet search of this toxin to explore the following issues:
o Where does this toxin come from?
o What part of the pufferfish is the toxin concentrated in?
o What other animals contain this toxin?
Lastly, Pretend you are a small pharmaceutical company that is trying to develop a drug that can be used in the hospital to treat tetrodotoxin poisoning. There is no antidote to tetrodotoxin poisoning. Therefore, it is extremely important that your company is successful in this endeavor. In your report, you need to include the following:
Your Company Name:
What do you want to call your company? Be creative!
Name of Your Drug:
Mechanism of Action:
Describe how your drug will work.
Be sure to provide details regarding its action. You are now familiar with the activity of this toxin at the level of molecules and cells, so your descriiption should contain details of how your drug works at that level.

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