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Describe experiments which led to the discovery of the modern fluid mosaic
model of the plasma membrane structure. Evaluate this model vis-à-vis the
earlier models proposed to explain the structure-function relationship of the

In 1925 Gorter and Grendel, two Dutch scientists, extracted membrane

lipids from a known number of RBCs and calculated the surface area. Then they
created a monolayer of lipids on water-- the surface area was 2 times the surface
area of RBCs. They concluded that membranes consisted of two layers of lipids.
These initial observations led to the 'lipid sandwich' hypothesis, which stated that
membranes were composed of two external layers with proteins in the middle.

In 1972, Singer and Nicholson proposed the fluid mosaic model, now
generally accepted. Membranes are viewed as two-dimensional fluids in which
proteins are inserted into lipid bilayers. They distinguished two classes of
proteins, peripheral and integral.

Support for the fluid mosaic model came from experiments of Frye, L.D. &
Edidin, M. in 1970. The rapid intermixing of cell surface antigens after formation
of mouse-human heterokaryons. They used Sendai virus to fuse tissue culture
cells of mouse and human origin, and produced cells called heterokaryons. The
virus alters the membrane such that cells readily fuse. They also were able to
visualize the location of proteins using fluorescent tagged antibodies. The rapid
movement of antigens (proteins) across the membrane surface could be due to
movement, or rapid synthesis of new proteins. They inhibited protein synthesis,
ATP formation and they lowered the temperature. The only significant result was
with temperature. The graph showed a decrease in mosaic cells’ temperature,
below 25 degrees C. They concluded that the cell surface is not a rigid structure,
but it is fluid enough to allow free diffusion of surface antigens.

More recent work has shown that most membrane proteins do not move
as free as Singer and Nicholson originally envisioned. The work of Jacobson et
al. indicates that there is no continuous lateral diffusion of proteins. Proteins
move in a more complicated way than originally thought. Certain proteins seem
to be confined to small domains and only move within that domain. Other
proteins undergo rapid, directed transport to the cell edge. These new ideas are
based on a new method, called SPT (Single Particle Tracking) in which a protein
is labeled with an antibody-coated submicrometer fluorescent particle, and the
trajectory followed by digital imaging microscopy.

7. Diagram and describe how membrane transport proteins function as

channel/carrier molecules for ions, hormones, and polypeptides.
Channel proteins make up a selective pore that transports a solute by
passive diffusion. Such proteins only transport water and ions through the cell
membrane. Several channels allow only certain molecules to pass through it.
Regulation is based on gating, which is the opening and closing of the channel
pore in response to a stimulus. Gating stimuli include voltage (membrane
potential changes), hormone binding, Ca2+ or light. Sodium ions pass through
sodium channels, while potassium and chlorine ions pass through potassium and
chlorine channels.

Carrier molecules transport large polar molecules that are not lipid-
soluble, such as glucose and amino acids. These molecules extend from one
side of the cell membrane to the other. The substrate binds to a specific site on
the protein that is on one side of the membrane. The protein undergoes a
conformational change, which exposes the substrate to the opposite side.
Substrate binding site confers high specificity for transport.

8. Describe the spatial and functional relationships among the nuclear envelope,
ER, ribosomes, Golgi complex, and lysosomes, citing how all these create a
dynamic cellular environment.

The copying of DNA into special RNA (mRNA) is known as transcription,

which takes place in the cell’s nucleus. A nuclear envelope surrounds the
nucleus, isolating and protecting the cell’s DNA from various molecules that could
accidentally damage its structure or interfere with the process. After transcription,
the mRNA is transported out of the nucleus. Ribosomal proteins produced in the
cytoplasm enter the nucleus through the nuclear pores and are assembled with
rRNA to form small and large ribosomal subunits. The ribosomal subunits then
exit the nucleus through the nuclear pores. Once in the cytoplasm, the large and
small ribosomal subunits form a ribosome and combine with mRNA. Ribosomes
process the information carried by mRNA and are responsible for protein
synthesis. The rough endoplasmic reticulum is the site of protein synthesis and
means of exporting synthesized proteins out of the cell. The endoplasmic
reticulum is the cell’s transport network for molecules targeted for certain
modifications and specific destinations and continuous with the nuclear envelope.
The other kind of ER, the smooth ER, is the ER without ribosomes and serves as
the site for lipid synthesis, detoxification, and a calcium reservoir. The
synthesized proteins are then brought to the Golgi apparatus for further
processing, packaging, and transport. The lysosomes are membrane-found
vesicles, formed from the Golgi apparatus, which contain digestive enzymes. The
lysosomes fuse with vesicles formed by endocytosis of the membrane and
destroy the materials that are not allowed to enter the cell.

The collaboration between each cell organelle ensures the successful production
of proteins and other essential materials for the survival of any living organism.
There are organelles for synthesis, transport, and protection, which are all vital to
the normal functioning of the cell. Each organelle performs a specific function.

9. What components of the cell are living? nonliving? Cite evidences to prove your

All the components of the cell are living. The cell membrane, cytoplasm,
cell organelles, microtubules, and microfilaments are all capable of reproduction
by cell division and they all take part in the cell’s metabolic processes. The
metabolic processes of the cell include the intake of raw materials, building cell
components, converting energy molecules, and releasing by-products.
Centrioles, which are made up of triplet microtubules, are capable of replicating
autonomously, just like the mitochondria and peroxisomes. The selectively-
permeable cell membrane allows the entry of raw material for the synthesis of
proteins, which is performed by the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The nucleus
contains the genetic material which play a vital role in the development of higher
forms of living organisms. The mitochondria are responsible for adenosine
triphosphate production, which provides the energy for chemical reactions to take
place in the cell.
Raw materials, such as ions and other chemical components, are
probably the only ones considered nonliving since they do no exhibit
characteristics of living organisms. Such characteristics are reproduction,
response to stimulus, growth, or adaptation.

10. Diagram the differences among single, doublet, and triplet microtubules as they
occur in specific cell structures.