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bis_104_pq_7_ans__08 - Therefore a lipid bilayer membrane...

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BIS 104 PQ 7 ans 08 7. The lipid composition of biomembranes has a strong influence on the physical and physiological properties of membranes such as the plasma membrane of the cell. Among the membrane lipids, phospholipid play a major role in determining these properties. Briefly describe how each of the following lipid properties influence the nature of the plasma membrane: a) Phospholipids are amphipathic. A molecule that amphipathic has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions, thus giving it a dual nature. The amphipathic phospholipids will arrange themselves in an aqueous solvent so that the hydrophilic head groups will maximize their exposure to the solvent, while the hydrophobic fatty acid tails will group together internally to minimize exposure to the solvent .
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Unformatted text preview: Therefore, a lipid bilayer membrane will always seal itself into a closed vesicle so that there are no free edges. b) The carbon chain length of the fatty acid component of phospholipids can range from short (14 CH2-) to relatively long (22 CH2-). Short chain fatty acids tend to increase the fluidity of a membrane, whereas long chain fatty acids tend to decrease the fluidity. Long chain FAs stack together more readily and tend to increase the liquid crystal nature of lipids in solution. c) The fatty acids can vary in their degree and pattern of saturation. Phospholipids with unsaturated fatty acid chains (one or more double bonds) interfere with tight packing of the lipids and thus tend to make the membrane more fluid. Saturated FAs have the opposite effect....
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