Alphabet Challenge :: D :: Dopamine

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge

Biosynthesis of catecholamines adrenaline/epin...

Biosynthesis of catecholamines adrenaline/epinephrine and noradrenaline/norepinephrine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dopamine (C8H11NO2) is a monoamine neurotransmitter in the brain and a member of the catecholamine family. Catecholamines are molecules that serve as neurotransmitters and hormones. Monoamines are compounds that contain nitrogen formed by replacing one or more of the Hydrogen atoms on ammonia (NH3). Dopamine itself is formed by the decarboxylation (removal of a -COOH group) from dihydroxyphenylalanine, whose common acronym is DOPA. Dopamine is a precursor to adrenaline, or epinephrine, and noradrenaline, or norepinephrine. Adrenaline is a stress hormone, part of the fight or flight mechanism. One of the many functions of noradrenaline is increasing the rate of contraction of the heart.

Parkinson’s Disease is believed to be caused by low levels of dopamine in certain regions of the brain. Treatment involves the use of dopa, which, after it crosses the blood-brain barrier, can be converted into dopamine. This increase in concentration can lessen movement disorders associated with the disease as well as improving nerve conduction.

~~~ – Definition of Dopamine


Alphabet Challenge :: A :: Antibodies

English: Basic model of antibody-mediated immu...

English: Basic model of antibody-mediated immunity with a virus as the pathogen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge


According to the MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (associated with NIH)

an antibody (also known as an immunoglobulin) is a protein produced by the body’s immune system when it detects harmful substances, called antigens.

Each antibody responds to and binds to a particular antigen. They are in the shape of a Y comprised of 4 polypeptides; 2 heavy chains and 2 light chains. Antibodies are produced by B-cells, a type of lymphocyte.

When healthy tissue is mistaken for something harmful and antibodies are produced an autoimmune disease can develop.

For more information:

Antibody: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.

Antibody Structure.

Antibody Resource Page – Home.

How Lymphocytes Produce Antibody.

Therapeutic Antibody Pioneers Get Spain’s Top Science Prize – ScienceInsider.

Pitiful Posting and the Alphabet Challenge

One of the great things about WordPress is the little calendar that shows you the days on which you’ve posted. One of the bad things about it is looking at that same calendar and seeing how sad and empty it looks. -_- To get myself back into the swing of posting, I’ve decided to start an Alphabet challenge. Hopefully I can kick-start myself into a blogging groove again with this. Below I’ll list each day, the letter, and as I pick my topic, I’ll come back here and add it. The one day that I probably won’t post on is June 8th. Blasted GRE. If I absolutely cannot find an animal or drug or something that follows the days letter, I’ll get creative.

June 4 – A – Antibodies

June 5 – B – Belgian Malinois

June 6 – C – Coral

June 7 – D – Dopamine

June 8 – GRE

June 11 – E – Elephant Shrew

June 12 – F – Flatworm Penis Fencing

June 13 – G – Grief

June 14 – Personal day

June 15 – H – Heart

June 18 – I – Indecisiveness

June 19 – J – Jerboa

June 20 – K – Kori Bustard

June 22 – L – Lyme disease

June 22 – M – Myopia and a Manatee

June 25 – N – Nervous System

June 26 – O – Olm

June 27 – P – Penguin Pics

June 28 – Q – Quoll

June 29 – R – Roadrunner

July 2 – S – Surinam Toad


July 6 – T – Two-toed Sloth

July 9 – U – Ural Owl

July 10 – V – Vaquita

July 11 – W – Wolverine

July 12 – X – Xoloitzcuintli

July 13 – Y – Yosemite Toad

July 16 – Z – Zany Life

NatGeo :: Geographic Cone Snail (Conus geographus)

Geographic Cone Snails, Geographic Cone Snail Pictures, Geographic Cone Snail Facts – National Geographic.

Last night, my dad was watching something on the news about the Cone Snail and its venom. Being the nerd that I am, I figured, “Hey. I wonder what makes those little things so toxic. I could blog about that.”

– Scientific Classification –

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Mollusca
  • Class: Gastropoda
  • Superfamily: Conoidea
  • Family: Conidae
  • Subfamily: Coninae
  • Genus: Conus
  • Species: C. geographus

A very important factor of the venom of this roughly 6 inch long snail is the potency. If it had a lesser effect, the prey would swim away and die elsewhere, taxing the snail with the cost of making the venom and getting no reward. An instant paralyzing effect is key. The venom itself is comprised of hundreds of different toxins. The delivery method is a harpoonlike tooth on the snail’s extendable proboscis.

Several humans have falled victim to the cone snail’s complex cocktail. If you every have the misfortune of being “harpooned” by this small creature, your best hope is fighting to stay alive until the toxins wear off. No anti-venom exists.

Within the venom of the cone snail are proteins that could very well pave the way to a new class of analgesics (pain killers). Specific human pain receptors are targeted by some of these proteins. They can be up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine without the same addictive results and side effects.