1. How does the term fluid mosaic describe the structure of the plasma membrane?
Let’s find out first what it is plasma membrane and its function. The plasma membrane is the boundary between the cell and its environment. It regulates what enters and exits the cell. Plasma membrane plays a vital role in protecting the integrity of the interior of the cell by allowing only selected substances into the cell and keeping other substances out. It also serves as a base of attachment for the cytoskeleton in some organisms and the cell wall in others. Thus the cell membrane supports the cell and helps in maintaining the shape of the cell. The cell membrane is primarily composed of proteins and lipids. While lipids help to give membranes their flexibility and proteins monitor and maintain the cell 's chemical climate and assist in the transfer of molecules across the membrane.
(“Plasma Membrane,” 2016).
Consequently, Scientists use the fluid mosaic model to describe the organization of phospholipids and proteins. Proteins and phospholipids make up most of the membrane structure. According to Bailey (2016) Phospholipids form a lipid bilayer in which their hydrophilic head areas spontaneously arrange to face the aqueous cytosol and the extracellular fluid, while their hydrophobic tail areas face away from the cytosol and extracellular fluid. The lipid bilayer is semi-permeable, allowing only certain molecules to diffuse across the membrane to enter or exit the cell. On the other hand, membrane proteins are free to move within the lipid bilayer as a result of its fluidity. Although this is true for most proteins, they can also be confined to certain areas of the bilayer with enzymes. Membrane proteins perform various functions, and ...
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... the cell. The membrane proteins are very specific. One protein that moves glucose will not move calcium (Ca) ions. There are hundreds of types of these membrane proteins in the many cells of your body (“Active Transport,” 1997-2015).
Endocytosis and Exocytosis play an important role in this process. Endocytosis is a general term for the process whereby very large particles of material are wrapped with plasma membrane and moved into the cell in the form of vesicles or vacuoles. None of the trapped material actually moves through the membrane, but remains on the other side of the original membrane, even while the vacuole is inside the cell. Exocytosis is the export of large quantities of material from the cell. Vesicles containing the material to be exported fuse with the plasma membrane, dumping the contents into the environment around the cell (Simon, 2015, pg. 51).
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