What is the main purpose of the sodium potassium pump in the nervous system? Are signals transferred across the axon via the na/k pump or does it mainly reset the na and k levels after action potential? Maybe I'm a little confused as to how the signal or impulse is moving through the neuron.... Thanks!
The Sodium-Potassium Pump (Na-K Pump) was discovered in the 1950’s by Skou, who won the Nobel Prize in 1997. It is the mechanism used by the cell to preserve a high intracellular concentration of Potassium and low concentration of Sodium, compared to opposite concentrations in the extracellular fluid. The cell membrane has a protein channel that uses ATP energy to create the Na-K gradients for cell function. The channel has an affinity for sodium ions. When they enter the channel the protein changes shape, allowing potassium to move against gradient. The process is reversible.
Highly excitable cells such as neurons are...
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