Intelligent Design

Potassium Channels Even More Clever Than Thought

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At the cellular level our bodies depend on a delicate balance of ions that is constantly adjusted. Potassium ions, for example, are atoms with one missing electron which are constantly streaming into or out of our cells. These positively charged ions enter and exit the cell via huge protein machines called channels which are imbedded in the cell wall and, like a donut, have a hole in the middle through which the ions flow. What is astonishing is how well these channels work. Not only do they open and close as needed, but they have two seemingly impossible design features. On the one hand they are extremely selective, allowing only a particular type of ion to flow through it. But on the other hand, they allow the chosen ions to flow through incredibly fast. It would seem that high selectivity would come at the cost of a slow transmission rate. But no, potassium channels for instance filter out practically everything but potassium ions, and yet their flow rate is practically at the maximum speed that is physically attainable. Now a recent study has added more information about how potassium channels perform their amazing feats.  Read more

27 Replies to “Potassium Channels Even More Clever Than Thought

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Of tracking channel activity, modulating AMPA receptor function, permeating potassium ions, and the plant response to osmotic stress

    doi: 10.1085/jgp.201411317

    The firing pattern of any excitable cell depends on the activity of its specific complement of ion channels; thus, modulation of a particular channel type provides a potential mechanism for controlling aberrant activity.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    Stargazin promotes closure of the AMPA receptor ligand-binding domain

    doi: 10.1085/jgp.201411287

    Transmembrane AMPA receptor (AMPAR) regulatory proteins (TARPs) markedly enhance AMPAR function, altering ligand efficacy and receptor gating kinetics and thereby shaping the postsynaptic response.

    The structural mechanism underlying TARP effects on gating, however, is unknown.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    The entire nervous system is more clever than we think.

  4. 4
    Me_Think says:

    Joe @ 3

    The entire nervous system is more clever than we think.

    ..Because the Brain nervous system (CNS) is dumb ? 🙂

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    What is a “brain nervous system”? In what way is the CNS “dumb”?

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    Wet electricity.

    Whereas the electricity that powers our computers comes from the flow of electrons through a conductor and “hates” water, the electricity that runs our bodies is designed for a wet environment and uses pumped ions to help convey differing messages to our command center.

    In this environment mere electrons are of little use because they would be easily dispersed. What is needed is something bigger. And as I eluded to in my opening an ion or ions will fit the bill. Well there just happen to be two atoms well suited for ionization- two atoms with 1 outer valence electron.

    If we take a look at the Periodic Table, and also a look at the electron shell arrangement (note the sodium diagram on the right and also thepotassium arrangement, we see these atoms are perfect fits for the job of positive ions (as both have only one outer valence electron).

    Now we have the ions but we need a way for them to get into and out of the cell-> Ion Channels

    Ion channels are proteins that line holes in the plasma membrane. They can open on demand to let ions in and out of the cell. They allow nerve impulses to travel, cause your heart to beat, and allow your muscles to contract. In many cells, channels and another kind of protein called a pump together maintain a relatively constant negative charge within your cells. This net negative charge, or membrane potential, affects the entry and exit of a variety of materials. page 15 of Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics: Getting the Big Picture

    10 million to 100 million per second!

    The importance of these precise structures and hence functioning of protein machines like these channels cannot be understated. Potassium channels, like other channels that pass other ions from one side of the cell membrane to the other, have a particular architecture that allows them to open and close upon command. We now know that intricately designed and mechanically fine-tuned ion channels determine the rhythm and allow an electrical impulse initiated when we stub our toe to be transmitted to the brain.- Ibid page 19

    However even these, in comparison to electrons, huge ions also get lost in the wet environment. So what is needed are pumps along the way to pump ions in and also out. In the case of our nerve cells, ions go in to start the signal and are pumped out to reset that part of the system so it is ready for the next (or continuing) sensation. See nerve cell.

    (Some venoms and poisons effect these pumps (stop them from working) thereby shutting down the nervous system of the inflicted- ie paralysis sets in.)

    However our nerves to not touch each other as wires do in an electrical system to make a circuit. Neurons have functional connections called synapses. These can connect neuron to neuron or other types of cells (for example muscle). Between the synapse and the next cell is a gap- the synaptic cleft.

    This gap is too large for even ions to traverse. So to make the connection- to send the signal from one cell to the next, neurotransmitters are sent. These flow in one direction. And once the neurotransmitters reach their destination, that cell responds accordingly, and all the neurotransmitters are dismantled and shuttled back to the transmitting site to be refabbed and ready for the next signal. (some do linger a bit longer and then disperse)

    This is key because if the neurotransmitters stay docked the receiving cell would remain locked in that sensation. And if any unused neurotransmitters- the synaptic cleft is basically flooded to ensure signal transmission- remain they will just fill in the docking site when the first arrivals are gone. IOW the receiving cell will be locked in that past sensation.

    And there are different types of neurotransmitters for different sensations and purposes.

    How is this evidence for ID?

    The nervous system exhibits planning- it takes planning to get the right ions, ion channels, pumps and neurotransmitters.

  7. 7
    Me_Think says:

    Joe @ 6 –
    Another BA77 in the making? Where are the verses?

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    Yes, MT, we all know that you are incapable of reading a post with more than 4 sentences.

  9. 9
    Me_Think says:

    Joe @ 8
    thanks for the single line answer!

  10. 10
    Joe says:

    MT must be upset that I included references and valid quotes to support my claims…

  11. 11
    Me_Think says:

    Joe @ 10
    That reference is more than 4 sentences so I can’t read.

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    besides potassium, there are other channels:

    Sodium entry through endothelial store operated calcium entry channels

    DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00063.2014

    innexin channels

    DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00246.2014

  13. 13
    awstar says:

    The nervous system exhibits planning- it takes planning to get the right ions, ion channels, pumps and neurotransmitters.

    And to think this is all the work of the god whose name is “Sheer Dumb Luck”. Why, even my belief in the God of the Bible is by SDL.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    The cell membrane, an impermeable barrier to Darwinian evolution. I love it.

    So far removed from “vesicles” it’s not even funny.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note to ‘channels’, here is good video on gradients:

    Gradients (ATP Synthases) – video

    Moreover, in related note to the different types of channels that Dionisio referenced, even photons are ‘channeled’ in photosynthesis. Moreover, photons are ‘channeled’ via ‘non classical’ means at extremely high efficiency:

    Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems. Gregory S. Engel, Nature (12 April 2007)
    Photosynthetic complexes are exquisitely tuned to capture solar light efficiently, and then transmit the excitation energy to reaction centres, where long term energy storage is initiated.,,,, This wavelike characteristic of the energy transfer within the photosynthetic complex can explain its extreme efficiency, in that it allows the complexes to sample vast areas of phase space to find the most efficient path.

    Quantum Mechanics at Work in Photosynthesis: Algae Familiar With These Processes for Nearly Two Billion Years – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: “We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy. Our result suggests that the energy of absorbed light resides in two places at once — a quantum superposition state, or coherence — and such a state lies at the heart of quantum mechanical theory.”,,, “It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans,” says Scholes.

    Quantum Mechanics Explains Efficiency of Photosynthesis – Jan. 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Previous experiments suggest that energy is transferred in a wave-like manner, exploiting quantum phenomena, but crucially, a non-classical explanation could not be conclusively proved as the phenomena identified could equally be described using classical physics.,,,
    Now, a team at UCL have attempted to identify features in these biological systems which can only be predicted by quantum physics, and for which no classical analogues exist.
    ,,,”We found that the properties of some of the chromophore vibrations that assist energy transfer during photosynthesis can never be described with classical laws, and moreover, this non-classical behaviour enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer.”,,,

    At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Nonlocality of Photosynthesis – Antoine Suarez – video – 2012

    Of somewhat related interest, ATP synthase, far outclassing man-made machines, is 100% efficient

    Your Motor/Generators Are 100% Efficient – October 2011
    Excerpt: ATP synthase astounds again. The molecular machine that generates almost all the ATP (molecular “energy pellets”) for all life was examined by Japanese scientists for its thermodynamic efficiency. By applying and measuring load on the top part that synthesizes ATP, they were able to determine that one cannot do better at getting work out of a motor,,, The article was edited by noted Harvard expert on the bacterial flagellum, Howard Berg.

    Miniature Molecular Power Plant: ATP Synthase – January 2013 – video

    Verse and Music:

    Luke 12:27
    Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

    Joy Williams – 2000 Decembers ago

  16. 16
    Mung says:

    I just can’t wait for keiths to jump in and tell us all about how unguided evolution is a better explanation for the cell membrane.

    Or perhaps he thinks the cell membrane just “poofed” into existence at the origin of life, along with the informational system that it happened to enclose.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    of interest to ‘channels’, The nuclear pore complex is fascinating since it, somehow, can differentiate between thousands, if not millions, of options to allow only the proper molecules through at the proper time:

    MIT biologist relishes the challenge of picking apart the cell’s most complex structure – May 2012
    Excerpt: One of the most important structures in a cell is the nuclear pore complex — a tiny yet complicated channel through which information flows in and out of the cell’s nucleus, directing all other cell activity.,,, However, many questions remain unanswered about how the pores are assembled, and how they control so much activity.
    “We don’t know how proteins that reside in the nuclear membrane actually get there. We don’t understand how viruses interact with the pore and how they go through. And we don’t understand how such an enormous spectrum of substrates can go through the same pore,” Schwartz says.

    Nuclear Pore Complex – video –

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    @17 bornagain77

    “We don’t know how proteins that reside in the nuclear membrane actually get there. We don’t understand how viruses interact with the pore and how they go through. And we don’t understand how such an enormous spectrum of substrates can go through the same pore,” Schwartz says.

    but they know that we got it all through the magic formula RV+NS+T=E bingo!

    isn’t that neat?


  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Dionisio, the Nuclear Pore Complex is something that, by itself, without even knowing the details as to exactly how it accomplishes its monster ‘top down’ sorting task, falsifies Neo-Darwinism.

    Although I would still like to know an overview of how all that required information is being processed by it, to it, and/or thru it,,,

    Nuclear Pore Complex

  20. 20
    DATCG says:

    Whether it is the Potassium-Ion channel or the Nuclear Pore Complex, anyone who is not wearing blinders would naturally ask why an unguided process creates a highly sophisticated control system for purposes of transport entry and exit.

    The NPC maintains an A-List entry to the nucleus. Question is how the doorman knows who is on the A-List?

    Blind, unguided forces cannot create sophisticated algorithmic security entrance technology. Technology that performs multiple complex steps of recognition systems for purpose of identifying approved entry status transports or denies entry to suspect rogue transports is not merely the “appearance of design” but the hallmark of design.

    The amount of technology present screams design, not merely “appears” to be.

    BA77’s entry #17 forces any open-minded person to ask how unguided process work.

    Like mudslide running down a mountain. Can it create by blind mechanisms a signal processing and recognition system like NPC?

    No single part of NPC, Nucleus, or Transporters sit waiting to work with another part, let alone have advanced knowledge of transport limos with A-List celebrities arriving to enter the big show, if it is truly a blind process.

    If we blow up the scale of such an unguided, blind system built upon Darwinist believers faith, it’s like a blind religion.

    A rocky analogy of chance hypothesis forming a self-organized gate system…

    1) Rocks tumbling down a mountain, along with dead trees, mudslide, and other matter form a gate in the valley below. But not just any gate. A gate recognition system.
    2) As a result, a small lake of water forms holding the precious nucleus of life pumping information – Algae-non-Logos
    3) Algae-non-Logos nucleus forms systems that need communication outside the gated community for purposes of supply to maintain life and replicate new gated systems
    4) The rocks, dead trees, brush, mud, etc., form a recognition system through blind processes that magically appear to be designed, yet are not. The Rock-Mud-Tree Pore Complex(RMTPC) gate work amazingly with yet other unguided magic submarine transports which enter and exist the wet-cell of life
    5) The RMTPC recognition system allows only certain types of water and unguided processes out of the lake. Like fish, thru a narrow pass based upon specific identification procedures which arose from blind processes. It just-so happens the fish, the algae-non-logos all work together.
    6) The Reverse process or entry to the lake allows blind, unguided fish into the lake by specific fish type. Trout yes, big mouth bass no.
    7) This blind process breaks out across all mountain-valleys in separate Forest of Life(was once thought to be a Tree of Life and still being taught as such).

    8) Unguided Processors(who believe they were created by unguided processes) conveniently “recognize” this to be the non-logos function or Inconsequentis. Where a gradual random placement of rocks, dead trees, mud and matter all fell happily into place gradually over time in a blind process of natural selection. Where “selection” is blind and unguided.
    9) Unguided Processors decide only their blind faith should be taught and forced upon intelligent designers because such a faith in blind processes makes intelligent being smarter

    All that is needed for this to work is time.

    This is an extreme analogy. Where the inanimate becomes animate, because someone imagines long ago, fish, rocks, mudslides and dead trees form a lake and the algae-non-logos formed. Apart, to blindly come together in a vast network system of interactive, interlocking, recognition signaling architecture.

    Another good link to Nuclear Pore Complex research…
    Nuclear Pore Complex

    The guided, intelligently designed software, hardware and intelligent beings that try to understand supposedly unguided processes…

    Rock, Mud, Tree Pore Complex

  21. 21
    AVS says:

    I missed the part where potassium ions are “more clever than we thought.”
    What new information have we found is so clever?

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    A new discovery relating to one of the most common processes in human cells is being described as a ‘paradigm shift’ in understanding.

  23. 23
    AVS says:

    What about this new information is “clever?”

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    All of it. Which definition of clever are you using?

  25. 25
    AVS says:

    The only definition I know. And I wouldn’t use the word “clever” to describe the finding in this paper.

  26. 26
    Mung says:

    AVS, who knows only one definition of clever. AVS, who wouldn’t use the word “clever” to describe the finding in this paper.

    Gee. So what.

  27. 27
    AVS says:

    Just asking a simple question mungy. It’s ok if you can’t answer it.

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