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You are watching: How do unsaturated fatty acids help keep any membrane more fluid at lower temperatures?

Cooper GM. The Cell: A molecular Approach. Second edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2000.


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The framework and function of cells room critically dependence on membranes, which not only separate the interior of the cell from its environment but additionally define the inner compartments of eukaryotic bio cells, consisting of the nucleus and also cytoplasmic organelles. The formation of organic membranes is based on the nature of lipids, and also all cell membranes re-publishing a common structural organization: bilayers the phospholipids with linked proteins. This membrane proteins room responsible for many committed functions; part act together receptors that enable the cell to answer to exterior signals, some room responsible for the selective transfer of molecules throughout the membrane, and others take part in electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. In addition, membrane proteins regulate the interactions in between cells of multicellular organisms. The typical structural company of membranes hence underlies a variety of biological processes and devoted membrane functions, which will certainly be disputed in information in later on chapters.


Membrane Lipids

The an essential building block of every cell membranes space phospholipids, which room amphipathic molecules, consist of of two hydrophobic fatty mountain chains attached to a phosphate-containing hydrophilic head team (see figure 2.7). Because their fatty mountain tails space poorly dissolve in water, phospholipids spontaneously type bilayers in aqueous solutions, v the hydrophobic tails buried in the inner of the membrane and the polar head teams exposed on both sides, in call with water (Figure 2.45). Together phospholipid bilayers kind a stable barrier between 2 aqueous compartments and represent the straightforward structure of all organic membranes.


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Figure 2.45

A phospholipid bilayer. Phospholipids spontaneously form stable bilayers, v their polar head groups exposed to water and their hydrophobic tails buried in the internal of the membrane.


Lipids constitute approximately 50% the the massive of most cell membranes, return this proportion varies relying on the type of membrane. Plasma membranes, because that example, are around 50% lipid and 50% protein. The inside membrane that mitochondria, top top the other hand, contains an uncommonly high fraction (about 75%) the protein, showing the variety of protein complexes involved in electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. The lipid ingredient of different cell membranes also varies (Table 2.3). The plasma membrane of E. Coli consists predominantly the phosphatidylethanolamine, i m sorry constitutes 80% of complete lipid. Mammalian plasma membranes are an ext complex, comprise four major phospholipids—phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and also sphingomyelin—which with each other constitute 50 to 60% of full membrane lipid. In enhancement to the phospholipids, the plasma membrane of animal cells save on computer glycolipids and also cholesterol, which usually correspond to about 40% of the full lipid molecules.


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An important property the lipid bilayers is the they behave as two-dimensional fluids in i beg your pardon individual molecules (both lipids and proteins) are free to rotate and move in lateral direction (Figure 2.46). Together fluidity is a vital property of membranes and is determined by both temperature and also lipid composition. For example, the interactions between shorter fatty mountain chains room weaker 보다 those between longer chains, so membrane containing shorter fatty mountain chains are less rigid and also remain liquid at reduced temperatures. Lipids include unsaturated fat acids likewise increase membrane fluidity because the existence of dual bonds introduce kinks in the fatty mountain chains, making them more complicated to pack together.


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Figure 2.46

Mobility the phospholipids in a membrane. Separation, personal, instance phospholipids can rotate and also move laterally in ~ a bilayer.


Because that its hydrocarbon ring structure (see figure 2.9), cholesterol plays a distinct role in determining membrane fluidity. Cholesterol molecules insert right into the bilayer with their polar hydroxyl groups close come the hydrophilic head teams of the phospholipids (Figure 2.47). The strict hydrocarbon rings of cholesterol thus interact v the regions of the fatty mountain chains the are adjacent to the phospholipid head groups. This interaction decreases the mobility that the external portions that the fatty mountain chains, make this part of the membrane more rigid. Top top the various other hand, insertion that cholesterol interferes through interactions between fatty acid chains, thereby preserving membrane fluidity at lower temperatures.


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Figure 2.47

Insertion of cholesterol in a membrane. Cholesterol inserts into the membrane with its polar hydroxyl group close come the polar head groups of the phospholipids.


Membrane Proteins

Proteins are the other significant constituent of cell membranes, constituting 25 come 75% the the fixed of the various membranes of the cell. The existing model that membrane structure, propose by Jonathan Singer and also Garth Nicolson in 1972, views membranes together a liquid mosaic in which proteins are inserted into a lipid double layer (Figure 2.48). When phospholipids provide the simple structural organization of membranes, membrane proteins lug out the details functions the the various membranes the the cell. These proteins are split into two basic classes, based upon the nature of their association through the membrane. Integral membrane proteins space embedded directly within the lipid bilayer. Peripheral membrane proteins are not inserted into the lipid bilayer yet are linked with the membrane indirectly, typically by interactions with integral membrane proteins.


Figure 2.48

Fluid mosaic design of membrane structure. Organic membranes covers proteins placed into a lipid bilayer. Integral membrane proteins are embedded in the membrane, usually via α-helical areas of 20 come 25 hydrophobic amino acids. Some (more...)


Many integral membrane proteins (called transmembrane proteins) span the lipid bilayer, with sections exposed ~ above both political parties of the membrane. The membrane-spanning sections of this proteins space usually α-helical areas of 20 come 25 nonpolar amino acids. The hydrophobic next chains of this amino acids communicate with the fatty mountain chains that membrane lipids, and the formation of an α helix neutralizes the polar character of the peptide bonds, as questioned earlier in this chapter with respect to protein folding. Choose the phospholipids, transmembrane proteins space amphipathic molecules, with their hydrophilic sections exposed come the aqueous environment on both sides of the membrane. Part transmembrane proteins expectancy the membrane only once; others have actually multiple membrane-spanning regions. Most transmembrane proteins of eukaryotic bio plasma membranes have been modification by the addition of carbohydrates, which are exposed ~ above the surface ar of the cell and also may get involved in cell-cell interactions.

Proteins can additionally be anchored in membranes by lipids that are covalently attached come the polypeptide chain (see chapter 7). Distinctive lipid adjustments anchor proteins to the cytosolic and extracellular faces of the plasma membrane. Proteins deserve to be anchored to the cytosolic face of the membrane one of two people by the addition of a 14-carbon fatty acid (myristic acid) to your amino terminus or by the enhancement of either a 16-carbon fatty acid (palmitic acid) or 15- or 20-carbon prenyl teams to the next chains of cysteine residues. Alternatively, proteins are anchored come the extracellular challenge of the plasma membrane through the enhancement of glycolipids to their carboxy terminus.


Transport across Cell Membranes

The selective permeability of biological membranes to little molecules allows the cabinet to control and also maintain its inner composition. Only small uncharged molecules can diffuse openly through phospholipid bilayers (Figure 2.49). Small nonpolar molecules, such as O2 and CO2, space soluble in the lipid bilayer and also therefore can readily cross cabinet membranes. Tiny uncharged polar molecules, such as H2O, likewise can diffuse through membranes, however larger uncharged polar molecules, such together glucose, cannot. Fee molecules, such together ions, room unable to diffuse through a phospholipid double layer regardless that size; even H+ ion cannot cross a lipid bilayer by complimentary diffusion.


Figure 2.49

Permeability the phospholipid bilayers. Tiny uncharged molecules have the right to diffuse freely through a phospholipid bilayer. However, the bilayer is impermeable to larger polar molecules (such together glucose and amino acids) and to ions.


Although ions and most polar molecules cannot diffuse throughout a lipid bilayer, numerous such molecules (such as glucose) are able to cross cabinet membranes. These molecules pass across membranes via the action of specific transmembrane proteins, which act as transporters. Such transport proteins identify the selective permeability of cabinet membranes and also thus play a crucial role in membrane function. Castle contain multiple membrane-spanning areas that kind a passage with the lipid bilayer, allowing polar or charged molecules to overcome the membrane v a protein spicy without interacting with the hydrophobic fatty mountain chains that the membrane phospholipids.

As debated in detail in thing 12, there are two general classes that membrane move proteins (Figure 2.50). Channel proteins type open pores v the membrane, allowing the free passage of any kind of molecule of the appropriate size. Ion channels, for example, enable the i of not natural ions such together Na+, K+, Ca2+, and Cl- across the plasma membrane. As soon as open, channel proteins kind small pores v which ions of the suitable size and charge have the right to cross the membrane by cost-free diffusion. The pores developed by these channel proteins room not permanently open; rather, they deserve to be selectively opened and also closed in an answer to extracellular signals, permitting the cell to control the activity of ions throughout the membrane. Together regulated ion channels have been an especially well studied in nerve and muscle cells, whereby they convey the transmission of electrochemical signals.


Figure 2.50

Channel and carrier proteins. (A) Channel proteins form open pores through which molecule of the appropriate size (e.g., ions) can cross the membrane. (B) carrier proteins selectively bind the little molecule to it is in transported and then experience a conformational (more...)


In contrast to channel proteins, carrier proteins selectively bind and transport specific small molecules, such together glucose. Quite than developing open channels, transport proteins act favor enzymes to facilitate the passage of specific molecules across membranes. In particular, carrier proteins bind details molecules and also then experience conformational changes that open channels through i beg your pardon the molecule to be transported can pass throughout the membrane and also be released on the other side.

As explained so far, molecules transported by either channel or transport proteins cross membranes in the energetically favorable direction, as identified by concentration and electrochemical gradients—a process known as passive transport. However, carrier proteins also carry out a system through i beg your pardon the power changes associated with transporting molecules throughout a membrane deserve to be combination to the usage or manufacturing of other creates of metabolic energy, just as enzymatic reactions have the right to be coupled to the hydrolysis or synthetic of ATP. Because that example, molecules deserve to be transported in one energetically unfavorable direction across a membrane (e.g., versus a concentration gradient) if their move in that direction is combination to ATP hydrolysis as a source of energy—a process called energetic transport (Figure 2.51). The totally free energy stored together ATP deserve to thus be supplied to control the interior composition the the cell, and also to drive the biosynthesis of cabinet constituents.

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Figure 2.51

Model of energetic transport. Model of active transportEnergy derived from the hydrolysis of ATP is offered to deliver H+ versus the electrochemical gradient (from low to high H+ concentration). Binding the H+ is add by phosphorylation that the transport (more...)


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