Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday's Molecule #167


I'm in a hotel room in San Diego overlooking the Pacific ocean. I see several small frigates and an aircraft carrier—not a large fleet carrier, unfortunately. The Pacific ocean makes me think of this molecule. What is it and why is it important?

Post your answer in the comments. I'll hold off releasing any comments for 24 hours. The first one with the correct answers wins. I will only post correct answers to avoid embarrassment. The winner will be treated to a free lunch.

There could be two winners. If the first correct answer isn't from an undergraduate student then I'll select a second winner from those undergraduates who post the correct answer. You will need to identify yourself as an undergraduate in order to win. (Put "undergraduate" at the bottom of your comment.)

Some past winners are from distant lands so their chances of taking up my offer of a free lunch are slim. (That's why I can afford to do this!)

In order to win you must post your correct name. Anonymous and pseudoanonymous commenters can't win the free lunch.

Winners will have to contact me by email to arrange a lunch date.

Comments are invisible for 24 hours. Comments are now open.

UPDATE: The molecule is tetrodotoxin, the main toxin in pufferfish (Fugu, named after one of the many species). This week's winners are Dima Klenchin and Deena Allan. Deena needs to get in touch. Dima has won more contests than any other person. (Bill Chaney is a very close second.) I'm glad he doesn't live in Toronto. Unfortunately, I'm going to be in Madison Wisconsin (his home) in a few weeks and he might demand that I pay up. I've decided not to tell him I'm coming.

Winners
Nov. 2009: Jason Oakley, Alex Ling
Oct. 17: Bill Chaney, Roger Fan
Oct. 24: DK
Oct. 31: Joseph C. Somody
Nov. 7: Jason Oakley
Nov. 15: Thomas Ferraro, Vipulan Vigneswaran
Nov. 21: Vipulan Vigneswaran (honorary mention to Raul A. Félix de Sousa)
Nov. 28: Philip Rodger
Dec. 5: 凌嘉誠 (Alex Ling)
Dec. 12: Bill Chaney
Dec. 19: Joseph C. Somody
Jan. 9: Dima Klenchin
Jan. 23: David Schuller
Jan. 30: Peter Monaghan
Feb. 7: Thomas Ferraro, Charles Motraghi
Feb. 13: Joseph C. Somody
March 5: Albi Celaj
March 12: Bill Chaney, Raul A. Félix de Sousa
March 19: no winner
March 26: John Runnels, Raul A. Félix de Sousa
April 2: Sean Ridout
April 9: no winner
April 16: Raul A. Félix de Sousa
April 23: Dima Klenchin, Deena Allan


10 comments :

  1. As I used it on a couple of occasions, I know it right away. Tetrodotoxin, pufferfish toxin, an inhibitor of the voltage-gated Na channel.

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  2. Looks like tetrodotoxin, the toxin in pufferfish. Important because it's sort of toxic. Well, a lot. If one aims to eat pufferfish, I would find the most experienced chef possible, regardless of the expense...

    If I'm not mistaken, it is a Na-channel blocker, and is probably made by prokaryotic symbiotes.

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  3. This molecule is tetrodotoxin, the potent neurotoxin with no known antidote found in a number of fish in the Pacific Ocean, namely the pufferfish, the porcupinefish, the ocean sunfish, and the triggerfish. I am an undergraduate.

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  4. Bayesian Bouffant, FCDMonday, April 23, 2012 2:53:00 PM

    Tetrodotoxin, a potent neurotoxin. The most common source is pufferfish, but it is found in a number of other species as well. It is believed to be produced by the bacterium Vibrio alginolyticus, not by the fish itself.
    Tetrodotoxin is important for a couple of reasons:
    1) If you eat improperly prepared pufferfish, it could kill you. That's fairly important.
    2) Tetrodotoxin specifically blocks sodium channels, and therefore it has been a valuable tool for neuroscience.

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  5. Raul A. Félix de SousaMonday, April 23, 2012 5:27:00 PM

    Molecule # 167 is tetrodoxin or TTX or (4R,4aR,5R,6S,7S,8S,8aR,10S,12S)-2-azaniumylidene-4,6,8,12-tetrahydroxy-6-(hydroximethyl)-2,3,4,4a,5,6,7,8-octahydro-1H-8a,10-methano-5,7-(epoxymethanooxy)quinazolin-10-olic acid, a deadly neurotoxin that blocks sodium channels in nerve cell membranes. The Pacific Ocean inspires you to have dinner in a good Japanese restaurant, where delicious 'fugu' is served.

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  6. Tetrodotoxin, frequently abbreviated as TTX, is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. There have been successful tests of a possible antidote in mice, but further tests must be carried out to determine efficacy in humans. Tetrodotoxin blocks action potentials in nerves by binding to the voltage-gated, fast sodium channels in nerve cell membranes,.

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  7. Tetrodotoxin. Neurotoxic component of fugu (pufferfish), and alleged ingredient of zombie powder.

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  8. Tetrodotoxin (TTX), is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. There have been successful tests of a possible antidote in mice, but further tests must be carried out to determine efficacy in humans. Tetrodotoxin blocks action potentials in nerves by binding to the voltage-gated, fast sodium channels in nerve cell membranes, essentially preventing any affected nerve cells from firing by blocking the channels used in the process.
    Its mechanism of action, selective blocking of the sodium channel, was shown definitively in 1964 by Toshio Narahashi and John W. Moore at Duke University, using Moore's sucrose gap voltage clamp technique.

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  9. This molecule is tetrodotoxin. Its importance as a neurotoxin involves blocking actin potential via interfering with voltage gated sodium channels. One of its natural sources is from pufferfish.

    UofT Undergraduate

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