After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen

Monday, 28 August 2023
The sodium-potassium pump : an essential protein

Today I’d like to tell you about the sodium-potassium pump. This protein is found in the membranes of neurons and of many other kinds of cells, and its role is to re-establish the ion-concentration gradients necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses as well as for other functions elsewhere in the body. Scientists long wondered how the sodium-potassium pump managed to transport sodium ions in the first phase of its work and potassium ions in the second without transporting the wrong kind of ions by mistake (see this animation). It was not until 2009 that scientists were able to observe this protein’s overall structure, and not until 2013 that they were able to demonstrate the answer to this question: the pump changes its conformation (shape) between these two phases. (more…)

From the Simple to the Complex | Comments Closed