Some of the most toxic animals in the world are small and colorful Frog It is called the poison dart frog of the poison dart frog family that inhabits the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. One frog carries enough poison to kill 10 adults. Interestingly, these frogs were not born toxic. Eating insects and other arthropods earns toxic chemicals.
But if this poison is so deadly, why don’t the frogs themselves die when they ingest it?
Researcher at the Cardiovascular Institute, University of California, San Francisco General Physiology Journal It explores this phenomenon.
In a new treatise, researchers studied the genus poisonous frog Golden poison frog Using a toxin called batrachotoxin, sodium Ions inside and outside the cell — one of the most important physiological functions in the body.yours brain It sends signals to the body and through electricity. These signals convey instructions to move to a part of the body, such as a limb. muscle To contract with them, and heart Instruct to pump. These electrical signals are made possible by the flow of positively charged ions, such as sodium, into negatively charged cells. Ions enter and leave cells through protein doors called ion channels. When these ion channels are blocked, electrical signals cannot pass through the body.
Batrachotoxin keeps ion channels open, providing a free flow of positively charged ions inside the cell, Abdelemane-Ali told Live Science. If they cannot be closed, the entire system loses its ability to transmit electrical signals.
“These channels need to be opened and closed to generate electricity that powers the brain and heart muscle,” said Abdelemane Ali. If the channel remains open, “there is no heart activity, no nerve activity or contractile activity.”
Basically, if you ingest one of these frogs, you will die almost instantly.
So how do these frogs and other poisonous animals avoid suffering from the same fate? There are three strategies that toxic animals use to stop self-poisoning, Abdelemane-Ali said. The most common are genetic mutations that slightly change the shape of the toxin’s target protein, the sodium ion door, and make it unable to bind to the protein.For example, the species of poison dart frog Dendrobates tinctorius azureus It carries a toxin called epibatidine that mimics a beneficial signaling chemical called acetylcholine.According to a 2017 study published in the journal Chemistry, These frogs have evolved the adaptation of acetylcholine receptors, slightly altering the shape of those receptors and making them resistant to toxins.
Another strategy used by toxic animal predators is the ability to completely remove toxins from the body, Abdelemane Ali said. This process is not necessarily the same as avoiding self-addiction. Another way to avoid poisoning from what animals eat.
The third strategy is called “quarantine”.
“Animal develops a system to capture [or] It absorbs toxins so that they don’t cause problems for animals. “
In the Adberemane-Ali study, he used sodium ion channels. Golden poison frog Treated them with frogs and toxins. He was surprised to see that sodium ion channels were not resistant to toxins.
“These animals should be dead,” said Abdelemane Ali. The frog’s sodium ion channels did not resist the destructive effects of the toxin, so the frog should not be able to survive with this toxin in the body.
Based on these results, Abderemane-Ali believes that these frogs are most likely to adopt a quarantine strategy to avoid self-poisoning by using what he calls a “protein sponge”. I am. Frogs can produce proteins that can absorb and retain toxins. That is, toxins have no chance of reaching these vulnerable protein channels in the first place.
Bullfrog (Bullfrog) Also, use quarantine, Abdelemane-Ali said. These frogs produce a protein called saxitoxin that can bind to saxitoxin and block toxins. Saxiphilin is currently being researched as a potential solution to neutralize the toxins introduced into our water supply. Harmful algal bloom..
Originally published in Live Science.
Why don’t toxic animals die from their own toxins?
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