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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

11
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
142 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
52 views

How does membrane potential vary between intraceullar membranes and the cellular membrane?

Question Does each type of membrane have a different membrane potential? I'm especially interested in answers that can cite academic papers that have attempted to measure membrane potentials. ...
8
votes
1answer
430 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
2answers
84 views

Permeability of Plasma Membrane

I’m having trouble grasping why small polar molecules can cross the hydrophobic region of the membrane and not ions. Won’t the polar molecules be attracted to the watery extracellular medium and not ...
7
votes
2answers
82 views

At what point during an action potential are the sodium potassium pumps working?

I'm trying to understand how all of the potentials during an action potential are created. My question specifically is about the sodium potassium pumps, however I would also be grateful if someone ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
366 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
2k 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
1answer
110 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
3k 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
849 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
1answer
870 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
178 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
1k 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
2k 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
336 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
336 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
72 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
204 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
886 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
90 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
1answer
170 views

How can a polar molecule pass through polar channels of proteins in the cell membrane?

To transport a polar molecule through the nonpolar cell membrane, a protein with a polar channel is needed to allow it to diffuse. However, if the molecule is polar and the channel is polar, wouldn't ...
4
votes
2answers
229 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
115 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
4answers
111 views

Can general soap kill bacteria?

I have read that general soap can kill bacteria by opening holes in the bacterial membrane. http://questions.sci-toys.com/node/90 However, I found some articles as well saying that it cannot. ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Membrane Permeability to Pyruvate

Pyruvate seems to pass easily through the outer membrane of the mitochondrion but has difficulty entering the inner membrane (and gets in by H+ symport). I have two questions: (1) what property of ...
3
votes
1answer
37 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) ...
3
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
496 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
485 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
204 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
287 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
198 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
99 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
98 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
1answer
135 views

Difference between protein channels, protein carriers and protein pumps?

I'm revising for my biology exam and I don't fully comprehend the difference between protein channels, carriers and pumps. I know that: Protein channels do not require ATP (passive transport) The ...
2
votes
2answers
203 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
160 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Relationship between turgor pressure and osmotic pressure?

I would like to know if there is a relationship between osmotic pressure (inside and outside of a cell) and turgor pressure. If so, is there a way to formalize it mathematically? Thank you in ...
2
votes
1answer
61 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
79 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
546 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
151 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
1answer
1k 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
273 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
1answer
4k views

How do inward rectifier potassium channels work in the heart?

Apparently in cardiomyocytes, there is an inward rectifying potassium channel that operates during phase 4 of the cardiomyocyte action potential. I have heard that despite this potassium channel ...