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AP Bio questions

jennyelenajennyelena Registered User Posts: 176 Junior Member
edited October 2011 in Sciences
Can someone please check my answer to this question?

**Q: To send a signal, a neuron may carry out exocytosis of chemical signals that are recognized by a second neuron. In some cases, the first neuron ends the signal by taking up the signaling molecules by endocytosis. Would you expect this to occur by pinocytosis or by receptor-mediated endocytosis? Explain. (The answer is receptor-mediated)

My Answer: Receptor-mediated endocytosis. The first neuron that ends the signal knows how much of the chemical signal abound. Also, receptor-mediated endocytosis ensures that all chemicals released from the previous neuron are caught and brought into this first neuron via endocytosis, making sure that no leftover wandering chemicals will reach the next neuron.

**Another Question:

Explain why the sodium-potassium pump would not be considered a cotransporter.

My Answer: The sodium-potassium pump pumps both ions against the electrochemical gradient. The sodium ions and potassium ions both use ATP to be transported across the plasma membrane. In order to be a cotransporter, however, one pump should pump a substance against the concentration gradient only to create potential energy that will be used to transport another substance. As the first substance flows back down the concentration gradient, the second substance will be transported in the desired direction. This is not true for the sodium-potassium pump.

Following was the answer I was given by the textbook which confounded me.
->"Each ion is being transported against its electrochemical gradient. If either ion were flowing down its electrochemical gradient, this would be considered cotransport."

Well, an example of cotransport is the sucrose-H+ cotransporter in plant cells and I am 100% sure that the sucrose is NOT flowing down its concentration gradient. The cell uses the potential energy from H+'s flow back into the cell to transport need sucrose into the cell, which is an active transport. So is the last line saying that the H+ ions are EVENTUALLY flowing down their electrochemical gradient?

Thanks in advance :) !!
Post edited by jennyelena on

Replies to: AP Bio questions

  • aldfig0aldfig0 Registered User Posts: 932 Member
    Receptor-mediated endocytosis allows for only specific substances to be taken inside the cell. Pinocytosis doesn't discriminate like receptor-mediated endocytosis, and thus may take in something else needed by the cells. I don't think it's possible for all of the signal molecules to be taken in (some should randomly diffuse everywhere, too far to be caught), but receptor-mediated endocytosis will allow for the particular ligand of interest to be picked up so it won't cause another response, without interfering with other substances in the surroundings.

    A cotransporter by definition allows some substance to use the concentration gradient of something else to enter against its own concentration gradient. The sodium potassium does not fit this definition; it just generates a concentration gradient (to be more precise, it creates an electrochemical gradient).
  • jennyelenajennyelena Registered User Posts: 176 Junior Member
    thanx aldfig0 !
    You're so smart about receptor-mediated endocytosis; it is impossible to take in all the signal molecules because biology is never too punctilious .. yeah, I agree that pinocytosis is more unspecific. You are right in that receptor-mediated endocytosis is a "safe" way of taking in signal molecules without impeding other activities, something that pinocytosis might do.

    I got the second question as well. Thank you so much :)
This discussion has been closed.