15. The Action Potential
Published Online: 27 JAN 2004
Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Cell Biology: A Short Course, Second Edition
How to Cite
Bolsover, S. R., Hyams, J. S., Shephard, E. A., White, H. A. and Wiedemann, C. G. (2003) The Action Potential, in Cell Biology: A Short Course, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/047146158X.ch15
- Published Online: 27 JAN 2004
- Published Print: 14 NOV 2003
Print ISBN: 9780471263937
Online ISBN: 9780471461586
- action potential;
- voltage-gated calcium channel;
- voltage-gated sodium channel;
- saltatory conduction;
The action potential is an explosive depolarization of the plasma membrane. It can be driven by the influx of calcium ions through voltage-gated calcium channels, as in the sea urchin egg, or sodium ions through voltage-gated sodium channels, as in human nerve cells. Action potentials travel rapidly along the long nerve cell processes called axons, especially if the axon is insulated by myelin. The amplitude of a signal is coded by the frequency of action potentials, all of which have the same amplitude.