- Why carbon is everywhere
- Water - Liquid awesome
- Biological molecules - You are what you eat
- Eukaryopolis - The city of animal cells
- In da club - Membranes & transport
- Plant cells
- ATP & respiration
- DNA, hot pockets, & the longest word ever
- Mitosis: Splitting up is complicated
- Meiosis: Where the sex starts
- Natural Selection
- Speciation: Of ligers & men
- Animal development: We're just tubes
- Evolutionary development: Chicken teeth
- Population genetics: When Darwin met Mendel
- Taxonomy: Life's filing system
- Evolution: It's a Thing
- Comparative anatomy: What makes us animals
- Simple animals: Sponges, jellies, & octopuses
- Complex animals: Annelids & arthropods
- Animal behavior
- The nervous system
- Circulatory & respiratory systems
- The digestive system
- The excretory system: From your heart to the toilet
- The skeletal system: It's ALIVE!
- Big Guns: The Muscular System
- Your immune system: Natural born killer
- Great glands - Your endocrine system
- The reproductive system: How gonads go
- Old & Odd: Archaea, Bacteria & Protists
- The sex lives of nonvascular plants
- Vascular plants = Winning!
- The plants & the bees: Plant reproduction
- Fungi: Death Becomes Them
- Ecology - Rules for living on earth
Hank describes how cells regulate their contents and communicate with one another via mechanisms within the cell membrane. Created by EcoGeek.
Want to join the conversation?
- What happens with the sodium-potassium pump?Why is sodium being released and potassium entering the cell?(14 votes)
- Nice question!! As you must be knowing, that this pump requires energy as it throws out 3 sodium ions and brings 2 potassium ions inside the cell. Now this pump works day and night because the cell contains many leaky sodium channels that bring sodium constantly inside the cell. And technically, sodium is not supposed to be inside the cell, it should be outside the cell. Thus to ensure that, this pump works as it throws the continuously entering sodium via leaky channels so as to maintain its gradient across the cell membrane. Another reason for it is, for keeping the membrane potential more negative. You must have seen that the resting membrane potential is -75 mV and this is essentially maintained in order to maintain a potential difference across the cell membrane with inside being negative and outside being positive. Thus this is achieved by kicking positively charged sodium outside the cells by the sodium potassium pump which kicks 3 Na+ outside and brings 2K+ inside thus reducing 1 positive charge from inside of the membrane. I hope that's helpful. :)(23 votes)
- why can't you take antibiotics against viruses?(9 votes)
- Well, antibiotics, by definition, are chemicals that either slow down the growth/spread of or kill bacteria. They work by disrupting the organelles of cells in bacteria e.g. erythromycin inhibits protein synthesis so the bacteria can't survive for very long and amphotericin destroys the cell membranes of bacteria. Since viruses aren't cellular in nature and don't have these organelles, antibiotics have no effect on viruses.(15 votes)
- What is the difference between single and covalent bonds?(4 votes)
- Single bonds are a type of covalent bonds. In single bonds, only one pair of electrons is shared. The other types of covalent bonds are double and triple bonds in which two and three pairs of electrons are shared respectively.
Hope this helps :)(10 votes)
- How does osmosis work in a closed system? Specifically, how does the type of solute, concentration of solute, and size of membrane pores affect the osmotic pressure in a closed system? What is an example of closed-system osmosis in the human body?(7 votes)
- I think you can use this example:
water moves from the blood filtrate that will form urine across a layer of epithelial cells lining the kidney tubules and into the blood, thus concentrating the urine.
the movement of water from a region of lower solute concentration to a region of higher solute concentration.
Osmotic pressure is defined as the hydrostatic pressure required to stop the net flow of water across a membrane separating solutions of different compositions.
Do not forget aquašorins (water channels) required for bulk water flow through membranes.
- Hank mentioned the "pumps" in the cell membrane at8:03. Do the "pumps" really look like that, or are they just animations of what people believe them to look like?(5 votes)
- The protein pumps in the video are oversimplified. As you read into more biology books, you will know that these pumps which are made out of proteins are made out of amino acids and these amino acids interact with each other in so many specific and unique ways. In short, they look different molecularly in order to fit their chemical function.(2 votes)
- So neurons are able to send messages because of an electric charge? And is this charge created by the the action of moving Na+ and K+ ?(5 votes)
- neurons send neurotransmitters across a synapse between the axon terminals of one neuron to the dendrites of the other. the electric charge acts inside the neuron to pass an action potential through the axon (no electric charge between neurons).
yes, the movement of action potential along the axon is due to the sodium-potassium pump
recommended source for steps on how neurons communicate:
- I know you need ATP in order to open the protein gate and allow Na+ to enter and K+ to exit, but can ATP be replaced with insulin? Or is insulin the same thing as ATP?(5 votes)
- insulin = hormone = pass signals
have different function from ATP, can not do the same thing.(2 votes)
- how does amoeba sense the presence of a food particle?(3 votes)
- It senses a gradient in the distribution of chemicals/food particles. It moves in the direction where it senses more of them. The sensing itself works via special receptor molecules (similar to taste/smell receptors). They bind the food molecules and send this info into the cell.(5 votes)
- At4:43it shows water molecules moving through protein channels. I am aware that the cell membrane does not allow watersoluble/hydrophillic/lipidphobic substances to pass straight through but I thought small molecules such as oxygen gas, carbon dioxide and water were able to pass through easily because of their size, without needing to move through channel proteins. Is this incorrect? Thanks(3 votes)
- Channel proteins allow passive transport of the small molecules like oxygen gas and water, meaning these molecules can flow through from the higher concentration to the lower one without using energy. This is what the video means by "easily" passing through the membrane, since no ATP is required. The water and oxygen cannot pass through anywhere they want, otherwise the membrane would be so full of holes that it would be useless!
Hope this helps!(2 votes)
- if rough and smooth ER has single layer of phospholipid, is ti polar on one side and nonpolar on the other side?(4 votes)
- Oh hey, I didn't see you over there. How long have you been waiting in this line? I've been here for like 15 minutes and it's fricking freezing out here. I mean, whose banana you gotta peel to get into this club? Well, while we're here I guess this might not be a bad time to continue our discussion about cells, because cells, like nightclubs, have to be selectively permeable. They can only work if they let in the stuff that they need and they kick out the stuff that they don't need like trash, and ridiculously drunk people, and Justin Bieber fans. But no matter what stuff it is, it has to pass through the cell's membrane. Some things can pass really easily into cells and without a lot of help, like water or oxygen. But a lot of other things that they need like sugar or other nutrients, or signaling molecules, or steroids, well, they can't get in or it will take a really long time for them to do it. Yeah, I can relate. Today we're gonna be talking about how substances move through cell membranes, what is happening all the time including right now in me and right now in you. And this is vital to all life, because it's not just how cells acquire what they need and get rid of what they don't, it's also how cells communicate with one another. Different materials have different ways of crossing the cell membrane and there are basically two categories of ways: there's active transport and there's passive transport. Passive transport doesn't require any energy, which is great because important things like oxygen and water can use this to get into cells really easily. And they do this through what we call diffusion. Let's say I'm finally in this show, and I'm in the show with my brother John, some of you know my brother John and I love him, but... he is not a big fan of people. I mean, he likes people, he doesn't like big crowds, being part of big crowds, of people standing nearby him, breathing on him, touching him accidentally, that sort of thing. Because Johns with me at the show, we're hanging out with all of our friends near the stage, but then he starts moving further and further from the stage so he doesn't get a bunch hipsters invading his space. That's basically what diffusion is. If everyone in the club were John Green, they would try and get as much space between all of them as possible until it was a uniform mass of John Greens throughout the club. When oxygen gets crowded, it finds places that are less crowded and moves into those spaces. When water gets crowded it does the same thing, it moves to where there's less water. When water does this across a membrane, it's a kind of diffusion called osmosis. This is how your cells regulate their water content. Not only does this apply to water itself which, as we've discussed, is the world's best solvent. You're gonna learn more about water in our water episode. It also works with water that contains dissolved materials or solutions, like solutions of salt water or solutions of sugar water or booze, which is just a solution of ethanol and water. If the concentration of a solution is higher inside of a cell than it is outside of the cell, then that solution is called hypertonic. Like power thirst, it's got everything packed into it. And if the concentration inside of the cell is lower than outside of the cell, it's called hypotonic. Which is sort of a sad version of hypertonic. So like with Charlie Sheen, we don't want the crazy, manic Charlie Sheen and we don't like the super sad, depressed Charlie Sheen. We want the in the middle Charlie Sheen who can just make us laugh and be happy. And that is the state that water concentrations are constantly seeking. It's called Isotonic when the concentration is the same on both sides, outside and in. And this works in real life, we can actually show it to you. This vase is full of fresh water and we also have a sausage casing, which is actually made out of cellulose. And inside of that, we have salt water. We've dyed it so that you can see it move through the casing which is acting as our membrane. This time-lapse shows how over a few hours the salt water diffuses into the pure water. It will keep diffusing until the concentration of salt in the water is the same inside the membrane as outside. When water does this, attempting to become isotonic it's called moving across it's concentration gradient. Most of my cells right now are bathed in a solution that has the same concentration as inside of them, and this is important. For example, if you took one of my red blood cells, and put it in a glass of pure water, it would be so hypertonic, so much stuff would be in the cell compared to outside the cell, that water would rush into the red blood cell and it would literally explode. So we don't want that. But if the concentration of my blood plasma were too high, all the water would rush out of my cell and it would shrivel up and be useless. And that's why your kidneys are constantly on the job, regulating the concentration of your blood plasma to keep it isotonic. Now water can permeate the cell membrane without any help, but it's not actually particularly easy. As we discussed in the last episode, cell membranes are made out of phospholipids. And the phospholipid bilayer is hydrophilic, or water loving on the outside, and hydrophobic, or water hating on the inside. So water molecules have a hard time passing through these layers, because they get stuck at the nonpolar hydrophobic core. That is where the channel proteins come in. They allow passage of stuff like water and ions without using any energy. They straddle the width of the membrane and inside, they have channels that are hydrophilic, which draws the water through. The proteins that are specifically for channeling water are called aquaporins. Each one can pass 3 billion water molecules a second. Makes me have to pee just thinking about it. Things like oxygen and water, that cells need constantly, they can get into the cell without any energy necessary. But most chemicals, they use what's called active transport. This is especially useful if you wanna move something in the opposite direction of it's concentration gradient, from a low concentration to a high concentration. So say we're back at that show, and I'm keeping company with John, whose being all antisocial in his polite and charming way. But after half a beer and an argument about who's the best Doctor Who, I wanna get back to my friends across the crowded bar. So I transport myself against the concentration gradient of humans, spending a lot of energy dodging stomping feet, throwing an elbow to get to them. That is high energy transport. In a cell getting the energy necessary to do pretty much anything, including moving something at the wrong direction across it's concentration gradient requires ATP. ATP, Adenosine Tri-phosphate. You just wanna replay that over and over again until it just rolls off the tongue because it's one of the most important chemicals that you will ever, ever, ever hear about. Adenosine tri-phosphate, ATP. If our bodies were America, ATP would be credit cards. It's such an important form of information currency that we're going to do an entire separate episode about it, which will be here. I was going to the wrong direction, but it will be here when we've done it. But for now, here's what you need to know. When a cell requires active transport, it basically has to pay a fee in the form of ATP, to a transport protein. A particularly important kind of fricking sweet transport protein is called the sodium-potassium pump. Most cells have them, but they're especially vital to cells that need lots of energy, like muscle cells and brain cells. Oh Biolography, it's my favorite part of this show. The sodium-potassium pump was discovered in the 1950's by a Danish medical doctor named Jens Christian Skou, who was studying how anesthetics work on membranes. He noticed that there was a protein in cell membranes that could pump sodium out of a cell. And the way he got to know this pump was by studying the nerves of crabs, because crab nerves are huge compared to human's nerves and are easier to dissect and observe. But crabs are still small, so he needed a lot of them. He struck a deal with the local fishermen and over the years studied approximately 25,000 crabs, each of which he boiled to study their fresh nerve fibers. He published his findings on the sodium-potassium pump in 1957, and in the meantime became known for the distinct odor that filled the halls of The Department of Physiology at the university where he worked. 40 years after making his discovery, Skou was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry. And heres what he taught us. Turns out these pumps worked against two gradients at the same time. One is the concentration gradient, and the other is the electrochemical gradient. That's the difference in electrical charge on either side of the cell's membrane. So the nerve cells that Skou was studying, like nerve cells in your brain, typically have a negative charge inside relative to the outside. They also usually have a low concentration of sodium ions inside. The pump works against both of these conditions. Collecting three positively charged sodium ions and pushing them out into the positively charged sodium ion rich environment. To get the energy to do this, the protein pump breaks up a molecule of ATP. ATP, adenosine tri-phosphate, an adenosine molecule with three phosphate groups attached to it. So an ATP connects with the protein pump, an enzyme breaks the covalent bond on one of those phosphates in a burst of excitement and energy. The split releases enough energy to change the shape of the pump, so that it opens outward, and releases three sodium ions. This new shape also makes it a good fit for potassium ions that are outside the cell, so the pump lets two of those in. So what you end up with is a nerve cell that is literally and metaphorically charged. It has all those sodium ions waiting outside with this intense desire to get inside of the cell, and when something triggers the nerve cell, it lets all of those in. And that gives the nerve cell a bunch of electric chemical energy, which it can then use to help you feel things, or touch, or smell, or taste or have a thought. There is still yet another way that stuff gets inside of cells, and this also requires energy, it's also a form of active transport. It's called vesicular transport and the heavy lifting is done by vesicles, which are tiny sacks made of phospholipids, just like the cell membrane. This kind of active transport is also called cytosis from the Greek for cell action. When vesicles transport materials outside of a cell it's called exocytosis or outside cell action. A great example of this is going on in your brain right now. It's how your nerve cells release neurotransmitters. You've heard of neurotransmitters, they're very important in helping you feel different ways, just like dopamine and serotonin. After neurotransmitters are synthesized and packaged into vesicles, they're transported until the vesicle reaches the membrane. When that happens, the two bilayers rearrange so that they fuse, and then the neurotransmitter spills out. And now I remember where I left my keys! Now just play that process in reverse and you'll see how material gets inside the cell. And that's endocytosis. There are three different ways that this happens. My personal favorite is phagocytosis, and the awesome there begins with the fact that that name itself means 'devouring cell action'. Check this out, so this particle outside here is some kind of dangerous bacterium in your body and this is a white blood cell. Chemical receptors on the blood cell membrane detect this punk invader and attach to it. Actually reaching out around it an engulfing it. Then the membrane forms a vesicle to carry it inside where it lays a total unholy beat down on it with enzymes and other cool weapons. Pinocytosis, or drinking action is very similar to phagocytosis except inside of surrounding whole particles it just surrounds things that have already been dissolved. Here the membrane just folds in a little to form the beginning of a channel and then pinches off to form a vesicle that holds the fluid. Most of your cells are doing this right now because it's how our cells absorb nutrients. But what if a cell needs something that only occurs in very small concentrations? That's when cells use clusters of specialized receptor proteins in the membrane that form a vesicle when receptors connect with the molecule that they're looking for. For example, your cells have specialized cholesterol receptors that allow you to absorb cholesterol. If those receptors don't work, which can happen with some genetic conditions, cholesterol is left to float around in your blood and eventually causes heart disease. So that's just one of many reasons to appreciate whats called receptor mediated endocytosis.