A selectively-permeable biological membrane that separates the interior of all cells from the outside environment.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

8
votes
1answer
137 views

What specific membrane adaptations do cells have for saline-rich environs?

Are the cells of marine animals and flora equipped with special ion exchange pumps to mitigate the effects of a saline-rich environment? Or have the cell's membranes adapted through structural ...
8
votes
1answer
110 views

What is the difference between organelle membranes?

Cells and organelles are contained in lipid bilayers. I'm particularly interested in eukaryotic organelle bilayers and the biophysicochemical differences between them. Many papers assume a ...
7
votes
3answers
259 views

Why don't phospholipid bilayers dissolve?

I just started learning about the structure and composition of cell's membrane and there is something that I fail to understand. The membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer. The phospholipid ...
7
votes
0answers
78 views

What is the transmembrane 'Positive-Inside Rule' nowadays? Has the definition changed over time?

First definition. Two publications by von Heijne in 1989 and 1992 coined the 'Positive-Inside rule' and showed it's practical value in topology prediction of transmembrane helices. It was clearly ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How efficient is the sodium-potassium pump ?

I am reading about transportation of ions in a cell. It is necessary to transport sodium back out and potassium back in, against their electrochemical gradient. This task is carried out by ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do grapes not shrink when placed in strong sugar solution?

I tried an experiment. First, I placed grapes in pure water(hypotonic solution). The grapes burst because of endosmosis. Then, I placed new set of grapes in strong sugar solution(fully saturated) but ...
6
votes
2answers
775 views

Are cells really the basic unit of all life? [closed]

Please see comments as to the appropriateness of this question on biology SE. All known life on Earth is made up of cells. It is thus safe to say that all known life is characterized by the presence ...
5
votes
2answers
155 views

Problems understanding membrane potential

I understand that membrane potential is the difference of the extracellular and intracellular ionic charges, due to their concentrations. We say that the extracellular space has a charge of 0 and then ...
5
votes
1answer
568 views

If proteins have an overall charge, how do membrane proteins traverse through the hydrophobic region of the plasma membrane?

These two concepts seem almost contradictory, proteins have a net negative charge due to the amino acids in them each having a small negative charge, yet membrane proteins are able to exist traversing ...
5
votes
1answer
63 views

What recovers normal polarisation after hyperpolarisation?

I have been taught that a Na+/K+ pump helps to recover normal polarisation after hyperpolarisation in neurons. I could not find out how it does that, since I've also been taught that such a pump moves ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Why does a “cascade” of events happen during signal transduction?

I've been watching some videos on signal transduction and it says that because there are enzymes being activated by the signal, then there is a "cascade" which happens afterwards...I don't understand ...
5
votes
1answer
859 views

How are lysosome membranes protected from the attack of hydrolases?

Lysosomes are a bit like the suicidal bags of cells. They help to clean cells, have an acidic pH and contain a large number of hydrolyzing enzymes. But why don't these hydrolyzing enzymes attack ...
5
votes
2answers
792 views

How is membrane capacitance related to the increased speed of saltatory conduction?

Here is the original question which inspired my question. As explained by the answers there, the reason saltatory conduction in myelinated neurons is faster than non-myelinated conduction is because ...
5
votes
1answer
149 views

Can in the case of multiple sclerosis (MS), a too high osmotic pressure in the nerve, lead to a high intracellular concentration of potassium?

Can in the case of multiple sclerosis (MS), a too high osmotic pressure in the nerve, lead to a high intracellular concentration of potassium, and also lead to 'pumping up' of nerve cells, which then ...
4
votes
2answers
197 views

How do detergents get in hydrophobic membrane interior?

According to Molecular And Cellular Biology (Stephen L. Wolfe), Membranes disperse almost instantaneously if exposed to a nonpolar environment or to detergents, which are amphipathic molecules ...
4
votes
1answer
41 views

Phospholipid movement in cell membranes

What causes phospholipids to flow so quickly in cell membranes? In Biology by Cambell et al. they state that a phospholipids can travel up to 2 micrometers per second. Is that a random movement or has ...
4
votes
1answer
28 views

Which hydrophobicity scales are best for detecting transmembrane regions, and why?

There are many hydrophobicity scales for protein analysis. Broadly, I gather the differences between them are from the experimental method to acquire the data and the normalisation (or lack thereof) ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

Is Active Transport Required For Life?

Is active transport required for all living cells to function? I was under the impression that if a cell doesn't have active transport, it either would lose molecules through the membrane and not be ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Simple diffusion of lipid-soluble molecules through phospholipid bilayer — does anything get “stuck” in transit?

It's a pretty elementary concept, and when I first learned of it I don't think I had the foundations to even think of such a question, but I found myself the other day thinking about the amphipathic ...
4
votes
2answers
164 views

Are nucleic acids found in cell membranes?

I've found various results online and I was recently marked in on an important test as wrong when I made the assumption they were not found in the cell membrane. Does anyone know what the correct ...
4
votes
1answer
59 views

Do cell membranes have more phospholipids in one layer than in the other?

Assuming the cell membrane to have a spherical shape, geometry tells us that the area of the inner leaflet is smaller than the area of the outer due to the difference in radius between them. Does this ...
4
votes
2answers
105 views

How to visualize the ECM?

Specifically, I'd like to look at changes in HA (hyaluronic acid) production. Most often you only see people staining the cell surface or removing cells from culture for fixation and then imaging. ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

Membrane potential in gram negative bacteria

Does the membrane potential usually quoted for gram negative bacteria (e.g. E. coli) refer to the potential across both membranes? - If yes, then does the potential fall more over the inner or outer ...
3
votes
2answers
289 views

Question about equilibrium potential formula

My biology book says, that the equilibrium potential for an ion with a charge of +1 is: $$E_{ion}= 62mV \biggl(\log\frac{[ion]_{outside}}{[ion]_{inside}}\biggr)$$ Where does the 62 mV come from? How ...
3
votes
1answer
356 views

Antihistamine's effect on insulin secretion and tiredness

Antihistamines are known to cause tiredness. The essential hormones of the body are insulin (glucose), parathyroid hormone (calcium) and aldosterone (Na-K ATPase, sodium). I am thinking how this ...
3
votes
1answer
188 views

What molecular processes are involved in pseudopodial extension?

I am curious as to the processes and mechanisms involved in the extension of pseudopodia in amoeba. How does the cell know and control the direction and extent of pseudopodia formation at a molecular ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

How did the endoplasmic reticulum come to be?

Organelles are sub-cellular compartments in cells. However prokaryotes don't use organelles to organise their intracellular space. Evolutionarily, there is evidence that mitochondria and ...
3
votes
1answer
67 views

Why do some proteins “use” a beta barrel structure instead of alpha helices in transmembrane space?

Most proteins are fixed in the membrane by alpha helices. But some use beta barrels. Wikipedia describes beta barrels as used for porins, preprotein translocases, and lipocalins. To me, a coiled coil ...
3
votes
1answer
43 views

Microalgae without cell walls?

Most microalgae have rigid cell walls. Dunaliella Salina is a pretty famous example of an algae with no cell wall, but just a plasma membrane. Are there any other microalgae without a cell wall?. I ...
3
votes
0answers
87 views

Why don't surfactants destroy or incorporate into cell membranes?

How do surfactants remain on the surface of pneumocytes without (1) acting as a detergent or (2) the phospholipids getting incorporated into the membranes of pneumocytes... I'm guessing the answer ...
2
votes
2answers
72 views

What are multicell spheroids?

I'm from a maths background and I'm doing some research on mathematical models of cancer. I've come across alot of literature mentioning "multicell spheroids" in the context of avascular tumours. I ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Domains in cell membrane

How is movement of proteins and lipids between different domains of cell membrane prevented? Why is the noncytosolic layer not able to do lateral movements between domains but cytosolic layer is able ...
2
votes
1answer
439 views

Will lipid molecules 'flip-flop' over a membrane without the use of an enzyme?

All of the references to this I can find refer to enzymes like Flippase making it 'easier' or 'more likely' that the translocation will occur, rather than actually make it possible. The following is ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Why does the 'Positive-inside Rule' exist?

Gunnar von Heijne's Positive-inside Rule seems to have been around for a couple of decades and underpins a lot of what we know about transmembrane topology. It is used to predict the topology of a ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

Inductance in cell

In an animal cell, especially neuron and in particular its axon, while there is electrical resistance and capacitance mechanism in the cell, which play essential roles in the cable theory model of ...
2
votes
2answers
331 views

Difference between facilitated diffusion and secondary active transport in cells

Specifically, what is the difference between facilitated diffusion carrier processes (passive transport) and secondary active transport co-transport processes (active transport)? They seem to be the ...
2
votes
1answer
537 views

What is the difference between rheobase and threshold?

Neuronal tissues can be excited by electrical stimulation. Two commonly encountered characteristics for electrically stimulating nerve cells is the threshold and the rheobase. My question is what the ...
2
votes
2answers
92 views

Why does K+ have more concentration inside of the cell compared to outside of the cell? Why is Na+ and Cl- the opposite? [closed]

Can someone tell me the fundamental reason why K+ has low concentration outside of the cell and more inside of the cell?
2
votes
3answers
414 views

Diffusion across cell membranes

I got this question and don't really understand the difference between the answers. Diffusion is (in cell membrane): a) passive by nature, no metabolic energy is needed b) driven process by ...
2
votes
0answers
26 views

Which step in endocytosis requires ATP?

Everybody seems to agree that endocytosis is an energy-using process, and as such requires ATP hydrolysis. However, which particular step requires it? More precisely, which 'molecular machine' ...
2
votes
0answers
14 views

What is internal symmetry in membrane proteins?

I have come across the term "internal symmetry" in the context of membrane proteins, but have never found a satisfactory definition. I'm struggling to figure out exactly what this term means... What ...
2
votes
0answers
25 views

What are all of the currently known variations of the G zipper motif?

The G zipper motif is found in transmembrane proteins at an above random frequency and there are models explaining how it might help with multiple transmembrane intra-membrane helix bundle assembly. ...
2
votes
0answers
30 views

charges on the cell membrane

I know that there are flipases and flopases that facilitate this sort of thing, but i'm curious about other possible influences. Can donnan effect be reversed so that phospholipids follow ions. For ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

What is the mechanism responsible for the 'delay' in delayed rectifier potassium channels?

I've been trying to find a comprehensive explanation concerning the nature of the 'delay' in neurons' delayed rectifier potassium channels. As it's written in my intro to neuroscience textbook, these ...
1
vote
2answers
209 views

What are mast cell membranes made out of?

What are mast cell membranes made out of? What would weaken or strengthen them? Web searches bring up a lot of information about mast cells but very little on the membrane. And the Wikipedia page ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Understanding intra and extracelullar concentrations (membrane potential)

I have 4 question (not homework) What happens to the cells membrane potential if: a) Na+ outside rises by 40mM b) K+ inside rises by 10mM c) K+ outside rises by 10mM d) A- (impermeable ion) ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

What is the functional significance of the difference in cardiolipin/cholesterol ratio in different membranes?

I have read somewhere that the plasma membrane has little cardiolipin but excess cholesterol whereas the inner mitochondrial membrane is rich in cardiolipin and has little cholesterol.I just wanted to ...
1
vote
1answer
738 views

What is 'calcium conductance'?

What is the meaning of calcium conductance in ion channels. I encountered this in the following text: It was established that the µ and δ opioid receptors open potassium channels, which results ...
1
vote
2answers
337 views

Effect of extracellular molecules on membrane potential

I am reading about the effect of extracellular potassium and chloride on the membrane potential, and now a question has come to my mind about what would happen if we added some molecules that have no ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Sodium-Potassium Pump

From my understanding, in the sodium-potassium pump we have Na+ inside the cell and K+ outside the cell, thus forming a so called "salted banana." After reading my textbook I found many statements ...