Agriculture
Getting the dirt on carbon
Chicken Eggs as Drug Factories
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Color-Changing Bugs
Tool Use Comes Naturally to Crows
Sleep Affects a Bird's Singing
Behavior
Baby Talk
Talking with Hands
Fish needs see-through head
Birds
Storks
Penguins
Nightingales
Chemistry and Materials
The chemistry of sleeplessness
Spinning Clay into Cotton
Atom Hauler
Computers
Two monkeys see a more colorful world
New twists for phantom limbs
Troubles with Hubble
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Meet the new dinos
Hall of Dinos
Dino Babies
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
Hot Summers, Wild Fires
Hints of Life in Ancient Lava
Deep Drilling at Sea
Environment
The Down Side of Keeping Clean
Blooming Jellies
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Finding the Past
A Long Trek to Asia
Digging Up Stone Age Art
Stonehenge Settlement
Fish
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Freshwater Fish
Tilapia
Food and Nutrition
Chew for Health
Symbols from the Stone Age
The Essence of Celery
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Capitalization Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
Losing with Heads or Tails
Setting a Prime Number Record
A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
Human Body
A Fix for Injured Knees
Gut Microbes and Weight
Don't Eat That Sandwich!
Invertebrates
Caterpillars
Arachnids
Invertebrates
Mammals
Bloodhounds
Otters
Elephants
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
How children learn
Physics
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Electric Backpack
Plants
Sweet, Sticky Science
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Reptiles
Turtles
Snakes
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
Supernovas Shed Light on Dark Energy
A Planet's Slim-Fast Plan
A Planet from the Early Universe
Technology and Engineering
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
Smart Windows
A Light Delay
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
Pronouns
Transportation
Flying the Hyper Skies
Robots on the Road, Again
Revving Up Green Machines
Weather
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Watering the Air
Catching Some Rays
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™