Agriculture
Fast-flying fungal spores
Silk’s superpowers
Making the most of a meal
Amphibians
Poison Dart Frogs
Toads
Newts
Animals
New Mammals
Cannibal Crickets
Pothole Repair, Insect-style
Behavior
Diving, Rolling, and Floating, Alligator Style
From dipping to fishing
Swine flu goes global
Birds
Turkeys
Swifts
Blue Jays
Chemistry and Materials
Graphene's superstrength
Bandages that could bite back
Sugary Survival Skill
Computers
The science of disappearing
Middle school science adventures
Batteries built by Viruses
Dinosaurs and Fossils
A Living Fossil
The Paleontologist and the Three Dinosaurs
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Rocking the House
The Pacific Ocean's Bald Spot
Environment
Hazy with a Chance of Sunshine
An Ocean View's Downside
Missing Tigers in India
Finding the Past
Your inner Neandertal
Ancient Cave Behavior
Decoding a Beverage Jar
Fish
A Jellyfish's Blurry View
Nurse Sharks
Manta Rays
Food and Nutrition
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
Strong Bones for Life
Turning to Sweets, Fats to Calm the Brain
GSAT English Rules
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Whoever vs. Whomever
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Math is a real brain bender
Play for Science
Human Body
Running with Sneaker Science
A Long Trek to Asia
Music in the Brain
Invertebrates
Mussels
Horseshoe Crabs
Ticks
Mammals
Persian Cats
Weasels
Sperm Whale
Parents
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Children and Media
Physics
Project Music
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Plants
Cactus Goo for Clean Water
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Bright Blooms That Glow
Reptiles
Sea Turtles
Garter Snakes
Asp
Space and Astronomy
Melting Snow on Mars
A Star's Belt of Dust and Rocks
Cool as a Jupiter
Technology and Engineering
A Satellite of Your Own
Beyond Bar Codes
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Noun
Pronouns
Transportation
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Robots on a Rocky Road
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Warmest Year on Record
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Add your Article

Hot Pepper, Hot Spider

Hot peppers and painful spider bites don't seem to have much in common. Both, however, can cause a similar burning sensation. New research now suggests a reason why. A chemical in hot peppers and different ones in spider venom happen to activate the same pain sensors in cells. The research centered on neurons—special cells that allow the brain and body to communicate with each other. Proteins, called receptors, sit on the surface of neurons and control whether the cells send messages or not. A pain receptor will make a neuron "fire" only when a specific molecule shows up to activate it. Several years ago, scientists discovered a receptor that's sensitive to a chemical called capsaicin—the molecule that gives hot peppers their spicy kick. Further studies showed that this receptor and related ones sense both chemicals and temperature. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) wondered whether these receptors might also respond to spider venom. Scientists know a lot about the molecules in venom that cause shock, paralysis, and death, but they don't know much about the molecules that cause pain. To learn more, they studied the venoms of spiders, scorpions, and snails that make you go "ouch." Experiments showed that the venom of just one West Indian tarantula species, known as the Trinidad chevron, activated the same receptor that's sensitive to capsaicin. Within that spider's venom, the scientists found three substances responsible for the effect. In the lab, the group then tested each of these substances by applying them, one at a time, to mouse neurons in a dish. Some of the mouse neurons were normal and able to fire in response to capsaicin. Others were engineered so that they couldn't react to capsaicin. The results showed that the venom molecules activated only the neurons that could also react to capsaicin. And only animals that had the normal neurons felt pain in response to any of the molecules. It makes sense that peppers and spiders came up with the same strategy to cause pain, says UCSF researcher David Julius. "Different organisms have figured out how to tap this site as a way of telling predators, 'You won't be comfortable if you mess with me,'" he says. Future research on the venom-and-veggie sensory pathway might eventually help scientists develop drugs for people to block certain types of pain.—E. Sohn

Hot Pepper, Hot Spider
Hot Pepper, Hot Spider








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™