Figure Injecting a potassium solution into a person’s blood is lethal. Capital punishment and euthanasia utilize this method in their subjects. Why do you think a potassium solution injection is lethal?
Figure Cells typically have a high concentration of potassium in the cytoplasm and are bathed in a high concentration of sodium. Injection of potassium dissipates this electrochemical gradient. In heart muscle, the sodium/potassium potential is responsible for transmitting the signal that causes the muscle to contract. When this potential is dissipated, the signal can’t be transmitted, and the heart stops beating. Potassium injections are also used to stop the heart from beating during surgery.
Figure If the pH outside the cell decreases, would you expect the amount of amino acids transported into the cell to increase or decrease?
Figure A decrease in pH means an increase in positively charged H+ ions, and an increase in the electrical gradient across the membrane. The transport of amino acids into the cell will increase.