“Smell the potassium: Surprising find in study of sex and aggression triggering vomeronasal organ”
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) is one of evolution’s most direct enforcers. From its niche within the nose in most land-based vertebrates, it detects pheromones and triggers corresponding basic-instinct behaviors, from compulsive mating to male-on-male death matches.
Death matches yall. Boom.
Anyway, researchers found 2 new positively charged potassium ion channels marked GIRK and SK3 above. ION channels are membrane proteins, which gate the flow of very specific smaller ion’s like sodium, chloride & calcium, regulating the cell. This flow of electric charges make voltage surges triggering neurons in the VNO, then it signals the brain to induce a behavior. Using whole cell patch clamp tests and in vivo experiments - which is what ya like to see, outside of the unexpected results between the two experiments and how GIRK and SK3 heavily contributed to these currents, the researchers say:
that the VNO may have evolved to have a high extracellular concentration of ions, as well as multiple ion channels, so that it remains functional even when it comes into contact with various ion-rich bodily fluids (…) ”The diversity of signaling pathways perhaps make it more robust in triggering innate behaviors.” [via]
Making you feel like this: