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Fluid Mosaic Model

by Georgina Cornwall, PhD
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    00:00 So let's begin that exploration by taking a look at the fluid mosaic model, which is the current model of what we understand of membrane function.

    00:10 Previously, we've covered that the membrane is primarily composed of a phospholipid bilayer.

    00:17 Also we're going to add to it, cholesterol, which has a big impact on the fluidity of the cell membrane.

    00:24 And then we will look at some of the embedded proteins and carbohydrate molecules that impact the communication of the cell with the external environment.

    00:36 So let's begin by looking at cholesterol. Cholesterol is a molecule involved in membrane fluidity as I mentioned before.

    00:45 In fact if you recall the kinky tails that we see in some of our phospholipids, those steroid molecules will fit in very nicely between those kinky tails to actually stabilize the membrane further.

    00:58 And then in addition to those, we'll see that there are glycoproteins on the cell surface.

    01:03 These glycoproteins mostly act as sort of nametags for the cell. It says "Hey, I'm a hair cell" or "I'm a liver cell".

    01:11 So these are self labels. We also have multiple membrance associated proteins.

    01:17 Some of these proteins are peripheral as in they're attached to the hydrophilic edges of the membrane.

    01:24 And others of them spend the whole membrane. These are transmembrane proteins. They might be channels.

    01:30 They might be receptors. So we'll see a number of those as we continue throughout the section of the course.

    01:38 Another label that we might see on the cell are glycolipids. Glyco meaning sugar, lipid meaning lipid.

    01:44 So these glycolipids are glucose associated with a phospholipid in the membrane.

    01:51 And they also act in communication as we'll see in a future lecture on cell communications.

    01:59 So let's just recall the structure of phospholipids in a number of different ways, we have to express them.

    02:05 We have the full chemical structure that you can see. And next to that, a space filling model.

    02:10 And then we have our sort of icon version, the dot with the legs.

    02:15 And that's sort of where we'll go from now on with our phospholipids.

    02:20 This always represents a phospholipid from now on.

    02:23 Again, you can see that they associate in a bilayer.

    02:26 We have the phospholipid head, it's hydrophilic, it likes water, and so it's to the outside.

    02:34 In addition to that, we have the hydrophobic tails which stay away from water and thus they are on the inside of that molecule.

    02:43 So, when we have these phospholipid bilayers coming together, there's all sorts of other stuff that you can see that we need to put into it.

    02:54 Again, cholesterol is going to maintain the fluidity by stopping the kinky tails of the phospholipid from swinging back and forth. So the more cholesterol we put in there, the more stability we see in the membrane.

    03:08 So you can see that because cholesterol is really important in cell membranes, our consumption of cholesterol is actually a very important component in our diet.

    03:17 Without cholesterol, we cannot have stable membranes and we also will not be able to make many of the hormones and vitamins. So they're so important to keeping everything running smoothly.

    03:29 So again we take a look at these saturated versus non saturated fatty acid tails.

    03:36 These are also involved in how much a membrane moves.

    03:40 These proteins and such that are embedded in the membrane are not static. They don't stay in one place.

    03:46 They essentially float around, hence the name, the fluid mosaic model.

    03:52 With the kinky tails, we saw that oils were more liquid at room temperature.

    03:57 And with straight tails, we saw fats were solid at room temperature.

    04:03 It's much the same when we consider our phospholipids.

    04:07 They are associated in the membrane with the steroid molecules in order to change membrane fluidity.

    04:13 Now in human condition, we see that the membrane fluidity stays relatively stable.

    04:19 However, in plants and some other animals that are not generating heat from inside, they need to change the composition of their membrane in order to say not crack their membrane like it's an egg shell.

    04:35 So some of them are saturated, some of them are unsaturated.

    04:38 Saturated tails, more solid. More cholesterol, more solid, less fluid.

    04:44 And the kinky tails lend themselves to having much more fluidity.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Fluid Mosaic Model by Georgina Cornwall, PhD is from the course Cellular Structure.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Cholesterol
    2. Glycoproteins
    3. Triglyceride acids
    4. Hydrophillic proteins
    5. Protein kinases
    1. Peripheral and transmembrane proteins
    2. Outer peripheral and inner peripheral proteins
    3. Peripheral I and Peripheral II proteins
    4. Transmembrane I and transmembrane II proteins
    5. Transmembrane and embedded proteins
    1. Decreasing the cell membrane fluidity for the proper functioning of the membrane
    2. Increasing the cell membrane fluidity for smooth operation
    3. Increasing the cell membrane fluidity for free movement of kinky tails of phospholipids
    4. Increasing the cell membrane fluidity for free flow water molecules across the membrane
    5. Increasing the cell membrane fluidity for free flow ATP molecules across the membrane

    Author of lecture Fluid Mosaic Model

     Georgina Cornwall, PhD

    Georgina Cornwall, PhD


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