The Structure and Function of Biological Membranes

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Properties of Lipids

Insoluble in water, soluble in fat and organic solvents
Functions: energy stores, precursors for vitamins and hormones, bile acids (cholic acids), membrane structure

Properties of Phospholips

Polar head group made up of serine, choline, ethanoline, inisol which are attached to the glycerol backbone by ester bonds
Amphipathic - possess both hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions

Sphingomyelin

Found in myelin sheaths, lacks a glycerol backbone

Saturated fatty acids

Stearic acid (18,0), Palmatic acid (16,0), Myristic Acid (14,0)

Monounsaturated fatty acid

Oliec acid (18,1)

Poly unsaturated

Aranchadonic acid (20,4)

Phospholipids facing extracellular environment

Phosphatidyl choline and sphingomyelin

Phospholipids facing intracellular environment

Phosphatidylserine and phophatidylethanolamine

Factors that increase fluidity of cell membranes

Increase in proportion of short chain fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids

Factors that reduce fluidity of cell membrane

Cholesterol. (In cirrhosis cholesterol content of the RBCs increase by 20 - 60 % which alters cell shape, impairs oxygen transport and causes erythrolysis and anaemia

Function and examples of structural protiens

Cell to cell contact, cytoskeletal organisation
Eg: actin, spectrin

Function and examples of receptor protiens

Signal recognition and transduction
Eg: Insulin receptor

Function and examples of ion channels

Maintenance of membrane potentials, transmission of action potentials
Eg GABA

Function and examples of transport protiens

Import/ export of substances
Eg: Glut transporters

Function and examples of enzymatically active protiens

Catalyse reactions
Eg: Adenylate cyclase

Anchored Proteins

Covalently bound to phospholipids

Extrinsic Protiens

Ionic interactions with phosophlipids and intrinsic protiens

Treatment of high salt/ urea protein test

Peripheral- Removed, Anchored-stay , Integral- stay

Treatment of Detergent - protein test

Peripheral removed, Anchored removed, Integral, removed

Treatment with phospholipase

Peripheral removed, Anchored stay, Integral stay

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