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A nerve signal begins as a change in the membrane potential

In a similar wav. sound.Turning a flashlight on uses the energy stored in a create light. . stimulating a neurons plasma membrane can trigger the release and use of the membrane's potential energy to generate a nerve signal. or a chemical signal from another neuron. Examples of stimuli include light. a tap on the knee. A stimulus is any factor that causes a nerve signal to be generated.

All the changes indicated by the graph millisecond .how nerve signals are generated multicolored line on the graph below traces the electrical changes that make up the action potential nerve signal.


(3) Once the threshold potential is reached. The difference between the threshold potential and the resting potential is minimum change in the membranes voltage that must occur to generate the action potential. (5)undershoots the resting potential (1) and finally returns to it.(1)The graph starts it the membranes resting potential ( — 70 mv). with the interior of cell becoming positive with respect to the outside. The membrane polarity reverses abruptly. . (2) The stimulus is applied. (4) The membrane then rapidly repolarizes as the voltage drop back down. the action potential is triggered. and the voltage rises to what is called the threshold potential (—50 mV. in this case).

.What actually causes the electrical changes of the action potential ? The rapid flip-flop of the membrane potential from the rapid movements of ions across the membrane Na+ and K+ channels (called voltagegated channels because they have special gates that open and close depending on changes in membrane potential).

makes the inside surface of the membrane slightly less negative than before. Just this tiny change.In (l) the resting membrane is positively charged on the outside. additional Na+ channels open. . a sufficient number of Na+ channels open to change the voltage to the threshold potential. As more Na+ moves in. (3) Once the threshold is reached. If the stimulus is strong enough. the voltage soars to its peak. and a tiny amount of Na+ enters the axon. and the cytoplasm just inside tin membrane is negatively charged. however. (2) A stimulus triggers the opening of a few Na+ channels in the membrane.

A typical action potential takes only a few milliseconds.(4) The peak voltage triggers closing and inactivation of the Na + channels. . allowing K + to diffuse rapidly out. Meanwhile. These changes produce the downswing on the graph. (5) A very brief undershoot of the resting potential results because the K + channels close slowly. (1) The membrane then returns to its resting potential. the K + channels open.