Genetics

What is a good analogy of cell membrane function?

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2009-09-16 21:55:25
2009-09-16 21:55:25
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Cellophane is a good analogy. It is a semi-permeable membrane which is permeable to water and small molecules, but not to large molecules, and can be used to demonstrate the principal of osmosis. Cellophane is made out of plant fibers called cellulose but living membranes are made out of layers of fat cells.

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Many textbooks will compare a cell membrane to the fluid mosaic model, which means that the parts of the membrane (phospholipids, cholesterol, proteins etc.) are not stuck in one place; they move around and can pass by one another while still keeping the integrity of the membrane. That is mainly for the structure, but structure always lends to function.

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