Three Cases from the Membrane Files: The Exploding

Three Cases from the Membrane Files: The Exploding

Three Cases from the Membrane Files: The Exploding Fish The Pleasurable Poison The Dangerous Diet by Eric Ribbens Western Illinois University Department of Biology The Case of

The Exploding Fish 2 I was lounging in my office when a client called. Do fish explode? 3

I was stumped. Do fish explode? And why did she want to know? I made a list. Why would fish explode? Why dont they explode? How do fish handle the very different freshwater and saltwater environments? It was time for some research. 4

Principle Diffusion: A chemical will spread out and become completely the same concentration wherever it can go (unless some other force is acting on it). 5 What about across a membrane? If it can cross the membrane, it will attempt to

diffuse. 6 CQ#1: You are looking at solutes (red dots) after plenty of time has elapsed. Most of the dots are on the left. This means: A. They cannot cross membranes. B. They do not obey the law of diffusion like other chemicals.

7 So a semipermeable membrane will allow some chemicals to diffuse across it, and prevent other chemicals from diffusing across it, and proteins can act as gates. 8

A good example: kidney dialysis Salts and urea can cross the membrane, blood cells cannot. 9 Another tricky piece of diffusion: The chemical tries to achieve equal concentration of it relative to the total solution. So if there are

equal amounts of water on each side of the membrane, but on one side the solution is only water while on the other side it is a mixture, water will still keep moving to the mixture side. 10 Water Diffusing 11

In my office I sat back and tried to think. What did I know? What diffusion is; What happens across membranes; and Kidney dialysis. A far cry from exploding fish, I thought. It was time for some questions. 12

CQ#2: A solution is 90% water on the left, and 80% water on the right, of a membrane that only water can cross. Assuming no other forces are operating, which direction will water move? A. B. C. D.

Water will move from left to right. Water will move from right to left. It depends. It is impossible to tell. 13 CQ#3: Remember that it is important to think about the concentration of the substance that can move. Consider this question:

The solution on the left is 10% salt. On the right it is 5% salt. Salt cannot cross the membrane, but water can. Which way will water move? A. Water will move from left to right. B. Water will move from right to left. C. It depends. D. It is impossible to tell. 14

Consider this experiment: You place an animal cell in a container of distilled water. What will happen? Make a hypothesis with your neighbor. 15 CQ#4: What do you predict will happen when you place an animal cell in a container of distilled water?

A. Water will not move. B. Water will move from the cell into the beaker holding the experiment. C. Water will move into the cell for a while. D. Water will move into the cell and the cell will explode! 16 17

Water will move into the cell and the cell will explode! Why? Start: concentration of water is higher outside the cell than inside, so water moves in. As time passes: the concentration of water inside the cell increases, but it never gets as high as the distilled water. The water moving in increases the cells volume until it cant handle the volume and explodes.

18 Now consider this: You place a plant cell in the same solution. The animal cell has exploded, but the plant cell never does. Why not? (Group work!) 19 CQ#5: The plant cell doesnt explode

because A. Plants are tougher than animals. B. Plants have a cell wall that pushes back against the increased cell volume. C. Plants dont let water cross membranes. D. We have no idea. 20 21

Ok. I was on to something here. Animal cells explode when placed in fresh water. But there are many animals that live in fresh water. We dont find fish that have exploded! Why not? 22 CQ#6: Why dont freshwater fish explode?

A. They really do, but underwater where we dont see it. B. They dont explode because they have cell walls. C. They dont explode because they have kidneys to get rid of excess water. 23 Freshwater Fish

24 Fish pee in there, you know! 25 How about a saltwater fish? Freshwater: water is continually entering the fish.

Saltwater: water is continually exiting the fish. 26 Or another strategy: What else could a fish do to reduce or stop water from leaving its body? Think about it! Hint: The only way to keep water from moving in or out is to have the concentration of water the same inside and out.

27 The only way to prevent water from moving out is Make the inside of the fish as solute-concentrated as the outside! How? Urea! Sharks and other cartiliginous fish build up urea in

their muscle tissues. This means the fish fluid is more concentrated, similar to the concentration of ocean water. 28 29 CQ#7: So the next time you see this you will think:

A. Bleah, that meat is soaked with fish pee. B. A great example of osmotic balance. C. Um, Im supposed to know something about this from biology. 30 Conclusion I called the client. No, they dont explode. Well, at least if they have kidneys. She sounded disappointed, and hung up.

Leaving me to wonder, why did she want a fish to explode? 31 The Case of The Pleasurable Poison 32

It was a case of poisoning. Jealous lover? Nefarious deeds in the murky realms of business? It was my job to find out. I hunted up my informant, who squealed. Heres what I learned. 33

All Systems Green! Obediently the neurons chugged away, firing signals back and forth inside the protective membranes holding the neural mass, sending messages out and processing the inflow of information. Pigments responded to incoming light signals. Fibers changed shape, chemical signals were released into the circulating fluid, and the pump rhythmically contracted, pushing the circulating fluid throughout the body. All was

well. 34 Yellow Alert We might have a problem, boss! Theres a contaminant in the circulatory fluid! Hmm. Thats not good. But the waste management system should be able to disassemble it.

35 Yellow Alert Uh, sir? Yes, but disassembling takes some time, and the waste management system will fail if it is overloaded with the invading substance. Meanwhile, the invader is able to penetrate the membrane protecting the central processing unit! What? That membrane was carefully designed

to keep contaminants out. How can this invader get through? 36 Yellow Alert Good question. Oh, heres a new report just in. Some of the neurons under attack are malfunctioning. Contracting fibers are not responding properly. Neuron communication is being disrupted, and some neurons have

disintegrated. The backfail judgement test indicates the system is significantly compromised. And research has just notified us that it is possible for systems to fail completely! 37 Hmm. What is a membrane, anyhow? Membranes, while very thin, are important barriers. They consist of a double layer of phospholipids, arranged with the tails pointing in and the heads pointing out.

The head region is attracted to water, while the tail region is repelled by water. A A A 38 That led me to polarity. What is polarity, and why do we care?

It seems a bit of a love story, two hydrogens mated with an oxygen. But the oxygen was greedy, hogging the electrons. That left the hydrogens deprived, and the oxygen negative. Oh, the imbalance was weak compared to the passion of their union. But the hydrogens would hook up with passing oxygens, at least for a moment of electrical connection. 39 OK, so the case involves membranes, and poisoning.

But what chemicals can get through a membrane? Not many. Any charged chemical cannot slip through a membrane, so ions cannot cross. Larger chemicals also cannot pass. Gases (such as O2, N2, or CO2) can cross membranes. Small uncharged particles (such as urea or water) can cross as well. But all other chemicals can only cross with the aid of proteins floating in the membrane. 40

Back to my informant: Yellow Alert So whats the dangerous drug, and how is it entering the system? It doesnt appear to be a gas. Apparently it entered the chemical intake vent, probably accidentally, and is able to slip through the membrane barriers! 41

Of course its accidental intake! The entire system has been carefully designed to minimize accidental intake and to flush the system if a toxin does enter! Duh. Well, notify waste management of the problem, and try to shut down the intake! Sir! Sir! Red alert! Systems are not responding at acceptable error thresholds. We are loxignfy dontactk wif pdrifmsi

42 System Failure 43 In the Ambulance Were transporting a young white male, unresponsive. Probably drunk. Keep his airway open. Make sure he

can breathe. Be prepared for vomiting. Do you have an IV in? Yes, hes on a drip right now. Well be there in two. Great! Well, not much we can do except try to keep him alive until the alcohol breaks down. Another one of those college idiots? 44

Aha! The usual suspect: ethanol. CH3CH2OH: soluble in both water and lipids. Psychoactive at normal doses. Therefore probably the worlds oldest recreational drug. 45 Human Effects

Effects are complicated, but can include confusion, dizziness, loss of motor control, feelings of euphoria or lethargy, nausea, and if concentrations are high enough comas or death. Alcohol causes an estimated 4% of all deaths worldwide. Thats more than AIDS, tuberculosis, or violence. (Cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death.) 46

The Next Day And were back! Good morning, sir! Good morning to you! Report? Well, some neurons are unhappy, and we lost the ends of some dendrites, but repair is working on that. And we added quite a few unneeded calories. But I think we had a narrow escape. Good, good! Any idea how the toxin got into the intake vent?

Well, you wont believe this, but 47 The Next Day Apparently management consumed it deliberately! 48

The Case of The Dangerous Diet 49 It was a dark alley. I stumbled on a body. Breathing, so still alive. But hot. I eavesdropped on the control room.

50 Something isnt right Something is a bit strange, sir. The overall system is running a bit on the hot side. That probably means an infection. There are no other signs of infection. Mitochondria are reporting unusually high activity levels. But thats the only other unusual thing.

The mitochondria are critical. Better have this checked out! 51 Mitochondria Two membranes, inner one highly folded. Have their own DNA. Make ATP for all sorts of uses for energy.

52 Mitochondria Break sugar down (eventually into water and carbon dioxide). Convert the energy from sugar to ATP: Pump protons into the intermembrane space, creating a pH gradient. The protons push back inside through an ATP synthase pump.

The pump uses the force to attach a phosphate to adenosine diphosphate. 53 ATP pump ADP and P+ and push produce ATP (with more energy). 54

Compare it to a hydroelectric dam 55 Results Well, we do have a mitochondria problem, sir. It seems that a strange chemical called DNP is interfering with ATP synthesis. How can something interfere with that?

56 Results You will remember that it is essential to have a membrane separating the protons from the inner space, since it is the push of the protons that drives the synthase pump. Of course. Is the membrane falling apart?

57 Results Not exactly. Apparently this chemical has penetrated the mitochondria. It binds to a proton and then lets the proton slip through the inner membrane. Which means that ATP is not being synthesized, so the mitochondria have to work harder! Thats right. And of course the harder the

mitochondria work the more heat is generated. 58 Think about that statement: Apparently this chemical has penetrated the mitochondria. It binds to a proton and then lets the proton slip through the

inner membrane. Using the diagram on the right, explain how DNP reduces ATP production. 59 Dinitrophenol 60

Dinitrophenol Where is this dinitrophenol stuff coming from? Remember management hasnt been happy about the energy reserves weve stored? Oh, yes, those fat cells. Ive told him that if he doesnt want us storing excess for use later, then he needs to reduce intake or increase activity. 61

Dinitrophenol Apparently hes found another solution. Indirectly increase activity by reducing the effectiveness of the mitochondria. Huh? Yes, He bought some DNP to try to lose weight. But thats dangerous! Does he know what hes doing?

62 DNP for sale 63 Danger Lethal dose is close to the therapeutic dose.

Typical signs and symptoms seen in these patients included hyperthermia, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and tachypnea. Severe neurological effects such as confusion, agitation, convulsions, and coma are common. Methemoglobinemia can be seen. There is no specific antidote. Treatment is supportive, with an emphasis on rapid reversal of severe hyperthemia. 64

One of the patients reviewed here had a premortem body temperature in excess of 43oC (110oF). 65 We report the cases of two individuals, one in Tacoma, WA, and the second in San Diego, whose deaths were attributed to ingestion of 2,4-dinitrophenol (2,4-DNP) The drug causes a marked increase in fat metabolism that has led to its use to aid

weight loss. Both cases reported here involved its use for this purpose. Features common to both cases included markedly elevated body temperature, rapid pulse and respiration Death in both cases was attributed to 2,4-DNP toxicity. Review of information available on the internet suggests that, although banned, 2,4-DNP is still illicitly promoted for weight loss. 66 From SteroidBazaar: for practical uses, basal metabolic rate can

safely increase by 30-50% without putting one's life in danger. It is not unheard of for people to lose up to one pound of pure fat per day while on DNP. (From slide 63.) 67 The Case of the Dangerous Diet I sighed. Membrane failure! Another case of stupidity. What will people think of next?

Oh, well. Without stupidity, I wouldnt have customers. I sighed, and called the cops. 68 Why do mitochondria need two membranes? A. They dont, it is an evolutionary artifact. B. They need two membranes because the contents inside the inner membrane are too

dangerous. C. They need two membranes so they can move protons back and forth across the inner membrane without having them mixed with the general contents of the cytoplasm. 69 How does DNP work? A. It allows protons to move across the inner mitochondrial membrane without moving

through the ATP pump. B. It allows protons to escape into the cytoplasm where they attack and destroy cell contents. C. It allows protons to become electrons. 70 Image Credits Slide 1: Licensed image, Art3D | Fotolia, ID#62321821.

Slides 2 & 3: Exploding fish illustration by Rebekah Ribbens, used with permission. Slide 5: Illustration of diffusion by Wikimedia Commons user JrPol, CC BY 3.0, Slide 6: Schematic drawing of diffusion over a semipermeable membrane, by Quasar Jarosz, p.d., http:// Slide 8: Licensed image, Ivx267 |, ID#30027532. Slide 9: Dialysis diagram by Alain Bombardier at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Slide 11: Rebekah Ribbens, used with permission. Slide 17: Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), Slide 19: Illustration by Martorell, CC BY-SA 3.0, Slide 21: Plant cell diagram by LadyofHats, p.d., Slide 24: Illustration of movement of water and ions in freshwater fish, p.d., Slide 25: Photo of horses, Trish Steel, CC BY-SA 2.0, Slide 26: Illustration of salt water fish by Rebekah Ribbens, used with permission.

Slide 29: Illustration of shark by Rebekah Ribbens, used with permission. Slide 30: Illustration of shark, p.d., 71 Slides 32, 33: Poison sign, p.d., Slide 34: Illustration of check mark, p.d., Slides 35-37: Attention diagram, p.d., Slide 38: Illustration of membrane receptors by Isaac Webb, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Slide 39: Diagram of hydrogen bonds between water molecules, OpenStax College, CC BY 3.0, Slide 42: Alert illustration, p.d., Slide 43: Photo of ambulance by Stiopa, CC BY-SA 3.0, Slide 44: Photo of medical treatment by Terysa M. King, CC BY 2.0, %288102350711%29_%282%29.jpg Slide 45: Ethanol, p.d., Slide 48: Advertisement for Malt Rainier, p.d.,

Slide 49: Photo of body builder posing by Layne Norton, CC BY-SA 3.0, Slide 52: Mitochondrion diagram, p.d., File:Animal_mitochondrion_diagram_en.svg Slides 54, 59: Diagram of ATP pump by Rebekah Ribbens, used with permission. Slide 55: Illustration of hydroelectric dam, p.d., Slide 57: Two-panelled figure of mitochondrion, OpenStax College, CC BY 3.0, Slide 60: Diagram of Dinitrophenol , p.d.,,4-Dinitrophenol_3D.png Slide 63: Screen capture of

Slide 65: Photo of hyperthermia treatment, p.d., 72

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