Calcium Channel Blockers and Paralysis
This animation shows how the drug Prialt suppresses signals from the nervous system, which can paralyze certain organisms.
Prialt (also known as ziconotide) is a painkiller that inhibits pain transmission by blocking calcium channels. This prevents electrical signals from the nerves from being transmitted to other neurons. Prialt was originally derived from the venom of predatory cone snails, which use the venom to paralyze fish, their prey. As shown in the animation, Prialt paralyzes fish by blocking calcium channels at motor neuron synapses, preventing the release of neurotransmitters.
This animation is a clip from a 2009 Holiday Lecture Series, Exploring Biodiversity: The Search for New Medicines. Depending on students’ background, it may be helpful to pause the animation at various points to discuss different structures.
analgesic, cone snail, fish, ion channel, medicine, muscle, neuroscience, neurotransmitter, synapse, toxin