Dave Rintoul drintoul at
Thu Oct 6 16:59:52 EST 1994


As previously announced on several of these newsgroups, I am preparing
a revision of a companion volume or study guide for a major
cell/molecular biology textbook.  The questions in this study guide
range from easy (vocabulary building) through conceptual to harder
questions dealing with analysis of research data.  I am responsible
for chapters on various topics for which I have limited (indeed, zero)
expertise, but I am willing to learn.  One of these chapters is on
neurons, and their properties.

With that background, then, I would like to solicit your
comments/queries about a few areas that might be appropriate topics
for the section called "Developing problem-solving skills."  Any
insights that you might give me into these areas would be appreciated;
all help will be acknowledged in the preface of the book, due out
in early 1995 (an optimistic deadline, for sure).  Thanks in advance.

-------------------questions follow----------------------------

The textbook talks about olfactory neurons, and the large number of
receptors found in these cells.  What is known about gustatory (taste)
neurons in this regard?  How many types of ligand-gated channels are there
in humans, for example?  Why can some people taste PTC as bitter (presumably
binds to some receptor), but others cannot taste it at all?

The shaker phenotype in D. melanogaster was discovered when someone
(who?) noticed a fly shaking under ether anesthesia.  Apparently this
phenotype is invisible at the organismic level in the absence of ether.
What is the molecular explanation for the ether effect?  Membrane fluidity
changes?  How can this be explored, analyzed?

Are puffer fish (or salamander) sodium channels resistant to
tetrodotoxin?  If not, how do these animals avoid being killed by
their endogenous toxins?  If so, what is the molecular nature of the

What would be the effect of Prozac (serotonin-uptake inhibitor) on
sensitization and classical conditioning in the Aplysia gill
withdrawal reflex arc?  Serotonin is the neurotransmitter released by
the "facilitator" neuron.

Any other topics, perhaps using data from your own lab, are cheerfully
requested, and, if they develop into a useful question, will be gratefully
acknowledged in print  Thanks in advance.

Dave Rintoul                 Internet: drintoul at
Biology Division - KSU     Latitude 39.18, Longitude -96.34
Manhattan KS 66506-4901                Compuserve: 71634,32
(913)-532-6663 or 5832                  FAX: (913)-532-6653

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