The Science of Biology Part 1 Writing Lab
by John Lundy
| 1 Question
Note from the author:
A writing lab to encourage students to investigate a ligand of their choosing in greater detail
Assignment Example:

Epi the Epinephrine

Deep within the body of Joe Somebody lived a hormone who was anything but snotty. She did as she was told from the time she was a young Tyrosine until she was a full grown Catecholamine. Our heroine, Epi the Epinephrine, lives in the Adrenal Gland: a happening place that is anything but bland. This gland has signals coming in and signals going out that help in keeping Joe Somebody moving about.
Now Epi was a signaling hormone, just one of many, and as for signaling runs she had not been on any. She spent her days planning her route and wishing for the one day when she could go out. But the day did not come, not when Joe was hit nor when he took a hammer to his own thumb. You see, Epi was an Epinephrine – a signal for fight or flight that helps keep people safe in the scary dark of night – which is why Epi didn’t understand why she wasn’t sent out every time Joe in frustration began to pout.
Now one fateful night Joe Somebody went on a date. He picked up Missy Marvoloso early so they wouldn’t be out too late. When Joe picked up Missy and their eyes first met, a signal came down from the brain that said Joe was upset.
The signal was for Epi, but she was confused. Missy wasn’t going to leave Joe hurt, battered and bruised. But this is what she had trained for each day and night, so Epi was going to get this signaling trip right.
She jumped into the blood stream as quick as she could, but she forgot to look both ways, which is never good. Epi was hit by a red blood cell and her BPS (body positioning system) was knocked out, yes bashed all to gel. So Epi was carried away from her desired route and the path she was on she knew nothing about.
When the blood flow finally slowed and Epi could find something to grasp, she found several receptors just perfect for her clasp. Epi put out her hand and with a quick clink, she had made the hormone to receptor link. She waited a moment and listened carefully to the cell that had an epinephrine receptor on its outer shell.
A few moments passed as the cell’s internal signal spun up, but once it had started, its strength went way up. It was a muscle cell she had triggered – where she did not know, but as the seconds passed the light around her began to grow.
She suddenly knew where she was, with a moment of fright, for the eye is the only place that could have an increase in light. It would seem that in Epi’s haste, she had caused Joe Somebody’s pupil to dilate. The iris contracted and the light filtered in to where only dim light had recently been.
At that very moment Joe and Missy were heading for the door of the “Super Great, Don’t Turn Them in Late” movie store. Poor Joe Somebody didn’t even see it coming – the lights inside were so bright that he bumped into a big bald guy while out with his date for the night. A big black eye was what Joe got for his trouble, and so Joe’s ego was burst like a bubble.
Epi, in the eye, saw the whole thing – from the accidental bumping to the big bald guys shiny ring as it hit Joe somebody with a painful zing. Epi knew she’d done wrong, she was in the eye – not anywhere near where she was suppose to be standing by – and so in the heat of panic and fright, she jumped into the blood stream to get out of sight.
When she came to a stop again, Epi was deep in Joe’s body, so she shook off the feeling of having been so naughty. She picked herself up and looked all about and found some more epinephrine receptors spread out.
Epi pulled in close and bound to them tightly and then something happened that was most unsightly. The receptor she bound to belonged to a muscle in the gut, and as a result Joe somebody did something that put him in quite a rut. The cell Epi bound to began to grind and groan, and the signal Epi had sent caused the cell’s activity to be blown. Joe felt a strange feeling in his tender belly and a loud noise rung out, like fast wind over jelly.
Epi felt the rumble and her heart began to tumble. She had a strange effect on smooth muscle cells that caused it to stop it’s constant grind and rustle; like time to quit work in the factory is known by the ringing of bells. Epi felt so embarrassed and hoped that no one would know, so back into the blood stream she swiftly wanted to go.
For the second time of the night she had caused trouble super and found herself flowing in the blood stream in a tremendous stupor. But what else could she do, she was innocent through and through; and why did those receptors seem to fit her so great, it would have been better if she had only one receptor mate.
As Epi floated she built up her will and decided that one more try would giver her fill. And lo and behold, the next place where she slowed gave off a noise that made her feel bold. From the rhythmic thumping and the sound of blood pumping, she knew she had found the right place with proper receptors all around. Epi found a receptor that fit just so, it was the right one, she really did know. Epi bound so tight and put into this binding all the energy she had left that night. And deep within the cell she herd the cAMP was moving and was stirred. The cAMP an intracellular signal for you and me, began to let calcium ions get set free. As a result, deep in Joe Somebody’s heart, came a feeling that made the black eye and the fart completely depart, for all he could feel was the pitter-patter of his heart. And it would seem that Missy must have felt it too, for as Joe dropped Missy off her face was blushed like she had the flu.
So don’t worry friends about the mistakes you make, don’t let them in heartache make you break, just keep to what you were sent to do and claim your stake of the pride that comes from a good job done - that no one can fake.
Pick any ligand of your choice and research it to the pain that you really understand what the ligand is and how it effects cells in an organism. Then, create a unique story like the example where the ligand comes from, how it moves within cells or an organisms body and how it effects cells and the organism as a whole. (You may not use epinephrine!)
1pt) Ligand origin is explained
1pt) Ligand mode of movement within the cell or the organism
1-t) effect of ligand within the organism
1pt) Understanding of how ligands function
4pts) creativity of story

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