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Function And Importance Of The Sodium Potassium Pump

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1

The sodium-potassium pump was discovered in the year of 1957 by scientist Jens Christian Skou in the year of 1957 who was then rewarded with a Nobel Prize as a recognition of his works in the year of 1997.

The Sodium-potassium pump is important for various body processes such as nerve cell signaling, kidney functions and heart contractions. The Na-K pump specializes the type of transport protein found within the cell membranes. Na-K pump has the function to create a gradient between the Na and K ions.

The process which includes the movement of sodium and potassium ions across the cell membrane which refers to an active transport process having an involvement of the hydrolysis of ATP to provide the necessary amount of energy. The process particularly includes an enzyme commonly referred to as Na+/K+-ATPase. This process is solely responsible for the maintenance of large excess of K+ ions in the interior of the pump. A cycle of transport process has been sketched right below it. It provides the accomplishment of the transport of three Na+ ions to the exterior of the cell and transport of two K+ ions to the interior of the same cell. This unbalanced transfer of charge provides a helping hand to the separation of charge across the membrane of the cell. The sodium-potassium pump plays a very important role in contributing towards the action potential production by the cells. This pump is also referred to as the P-type pump since, it manages the ATP interactions phosphorylates which transports the protein and causes a change in its confirmation.

The sodium-potassium pump is a solute pump that pumps potassium within the cells while extracting out sodium from the cell, both which exists against their concentration gradient. This phenomena of pumping is also referred to as active. For every single ATP molecule which the pump implements, three of the sodium ions are exported and two of the potassium ions are being imported. Hence, there is a net export of single positive charge per cycle of the pump.

Working of the Sodium-Potassium pump

The Sodium-potassium pump utilizes the phenomena of active transport to transfer the molecules from a higher concentration to a lower place of concentration. The Na-K transports the sodium ions to the exterior of the cell and in turn, the Potassium ions into the interior of the cell. The pump gets its energy from Adenosine Triphosphate. For each of the ATP is broken down, 3 sodium ions move out of the cell while on the other hand, 2 potassium ions move into the cell.

In a more detailed discussion, Sodium ions get bound to the pump, and a specific phosphate group from the ATP gets attached to the pump allowing it to change its shape. With this new shape, the pump releases three ions of Sodium and two ions of Potassium. After the potassium ions are bound to the pump, the phosphate group detaches itself. This as a result, causes the pump to releases two potassium ions into the cytoplasm.

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