3.6: Enable Transport (2023)

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    Active transport mechanisms require the use of energy from the cell, mostly in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). If a substance has to enter the cell against its concentration gradient, ie if the concentration of the substance inside the cell has to be greater than its concentration in the extracellular fluid, the cell has to expend energy to move the substance. Some active transport mechanisms move low molecular weight material, such as B. ions, across the membrane.

    Cells not only have to move small ions and molecules across the membrane, but also remove and absorb larger molecules and particles. Some cells are even capable of engulfing whole unicellular microorganisms. You may have correctly hypothesized that the uptake and release of large particles by the cell requires energy. However, even with the energy provided by the cell, a large particle cannot pass through the membrane.

    electrochemical gradient

    We have discussed simple concentration gradients (varying concentrations of a substance across a space or membrane), but in living systems gradients are more complex. Because cells contain proteins, most of which are negatively charged, and because ions move in and out of cells, there is an electrical gradient, a difference in charge, across the plasma membrane. The interior of living cells is electrically negative to the extracellular fluid in which they are bathed; At the same time, the cells have higher potassium concentrations (K+) and lower sodium concentrations (Na+) as extracellular fluid. Thus, in a living cell, the concentration gradient and the electrical gradient of Na+promotes the diffusion of the ion in the cell and the electric gradient of Na+(a positive ion) tends to push it inwards when negatively charged. However, for other elements such as potassium, the situation is more complex. The electric gradient of K+promotes ion diffusionInof the cell, but the concentration gradient of K+promotes disseminationOutsideof the cell (map \(\PageIndex{1}\)). The combined gradient acting on an ion is called the electrochemical gradient and is particularly important for muscle and nerve cells.

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    3.6: Enable Transport (2)

    movement against a gradient

    In order to move substances against a concentration or an electrochemical gradient, the cell must expend energy. This energy is obtained from ATP, which is produced by cellular metabolism. Active transport mechanisms, collectively referred to as transport proteins or pumps, oppose electrochemical gradients. With the exception of ions, small substances constantly pass through plasma membranes. Active transport maintains the levels of ions and other substances needed by living cells in the face of these passive changes. A large part of a cell's metabolic energy supply can be used to maintain these processes. Since active transport mechanisms depend on cellular energy metabolism, they are sensitive to many metabolic toxins that disrupt ATP supply.

    Two mechanisms exist for the transport of small molecular weight material and macromolecules. Primary active transport moves ions across a membrane and creates a charge difference across that membrane. The primary active transport system uses ATP to bring a substance, such as an ion, into the cell, and often a second substance is removed from the cell at the same time. The sodium-potassium pump, an important pump in animal cells, uses energy to move potassium ions into the cell and a varying amount of sodium ions out of the cell (Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\ )). The action of this pump results in a concentration and charge difference across the membrane.

    3.6: Enable Transport (3)

    Secondary active transport describes the movement of material using the energy of the electrochemical gradient established by primary active transport. Using the energy of the electrochemical gradient created by the primary active transport system, other substances such as amino acids and glucose can enter the cell through channels in the membrane. ATP itself is formed by secondary active transport using a hydrogen ion gradient in the mitochondria.


    Endocytosis is a type of active transport that moves particles such as large molecules, cell parts, and even whole cells into a cell. There are different variants of endocytosis, but they all share a common feature: the cell's plasma membrane invaginates and forms a pocket around the target particle. The pouch is pinched off, trapping the particle in a newly created vacuole that forms from the plasma membrane.

    3.6: Enable Transport (4)

    Phagocytosis is the process by which a cell breaks down large particles, such as B. cells. For example, when microorganisms enter the human body, a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil eliminates the invader through this process of surrounding and engulfing the microorganism, which is then destroyed by the neutrophils (Figure \(\PageIndex{ 3}\ ) ).

    A variant of endocytosis is called pinocytosis. This literally means "to drink from the cell" and was named at a time when the cell was intended to intentionally absorb extracellular fluid. This process removes the dissolved substances required by the cell from the extracellular fluid (Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\)).

    A targeted variant of endocytosis uses binding proteins in the plasma membrane that are specific for certain substances (Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\)). The particles bind to proteins and the plasma membrane invaginates, bringing the substance and proteins into the cell. If passage through the membrane of the target of receptor-mediated endocytosis is inefficient, it is not cleared from tissue fluids or blood. Instead, it stays in these liquids and increases its concentration. Some human diseases are caused by failure of receptor-mediated endocytosis. For example, the form of cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein, or LDL (also known as "bad" cholesterol) is cleared from the blood by receptor-mediated endocytosis. In familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic human disease, LDL receptors are defective or absent altogether. People with this condition have life-threatening levels of cholesterol in their blood because their cells can't clear the chemical from their blood.


    See receptor-mediated endocytosisAnimationin action.

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    Contrasted with these methods of introducing material into a cell is the process of exocytosis. Exocytosis is the opposite of the processes discussed above, as its purpose is to expel material from the cell into the extracellular fluid. A membrane-bound particle fuses with the interior of the plasma membrane. This fusion opens the membrane envelope to the outside of the cell and the particle is ejected into the extracellular space (Figure \(\PageIndex{4}\)).

    3.6: Enable Transport (5)
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    Summary section

    The combined gradient acting on an ion includes its concentration gradient and its electrical gradient. Living cells require certain substances in concentrations greater than those present in the extracellular space. Moving substances along their electrochemical gradients requires energy from the cell. Active transport uses energy stored in ATP to power transport. Active transport of small molecule material uses integral proteins in the cell membrane to move the material; these proteins are analogous to pumps. Some pumps that perform primary active transport couple directly with ATP to power their action. In secondary transport, the energy of primary transport can be used to bring another substance into the cell and increase its concentration gradient.

    Endocytic processes require the direct use of ATP to drive the transport of large particles such as macromolecules; Parts of cells or whole cells can be taken up by other cells in a process called phagocytosis. During phagocytosis, a portion of the membrane invaginates and flows around the particle, eventually detaching leaving the particle completely encased in a plasma membrane envelope. The vacuoles are broken down by the cell and the particles used for food or otherwise transported. Pinocytosis is a similar process on a smaller scale. The cell expels debris and other particles through the reverse process called exocytosis. Debris moves out of the cell and pushes a membranous vesicle toward the plasma membrane, allowing the vesicle to fuse with the membrane and become incorporated into the membrane structure, expelling its contents to the outside of the cell.


    Active transportation
    the method of transporting material that requires energy
    electrochemical gradient
    a gradient created by the combined forces of the electrical gradient and the chemical gradient
    a type of active transport that transports substances, including liquids and particles, into a cell
    a process by which material is channeled out of a cell
    a process that takes macromolecules that the cell needs from the extracellular fluid; a variant of endocytosis
    a process that extracts solutes needed by the cell from the extracellular fluid; a variant of endocytosis
    receptor-mediated endocytosis
    a variant of endocytosis that uses specific binding proteins on the plasma membrane for specific molecules or particles
    (Video) 3.6 Distribution & transport

    Credits and Attributions


    How will a person know if the transport mechanism is not working? ›

    AI Recommended Answer: The person will know if the transport mechanism in the cell throughout our body is starting not to work not working if they experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or difficulty walking.

    Which way will free water molecules move? ›

    Water molecules will move from the side of higher water concentration to the side of lower concentration until both solutions are isotonic. At this point, equilibrium is reached.

    What will happen if plasma membrane will not function properly? ›

    A eukaryotic cell is separated from the extracellular environment by a plasma membrane composed of a phospholipid bilayer containing proteins that regulate transit of molecules into and out of the cell. Loss of this barrier function can lead to compromised cellular homeostasis and death of the cell.

    Does active transport require energy? ›

    Active transport requires energy for the process by transporting molecules against a concentration or electrochemical gradient.

    How do you determine active transport? ›

    During active transport, substances move against the concentration gradient, from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration. This process is “active” because it requires the use of energy (usually in the form of ATP). It is the opposite of passive transport.

    What is required for active transport? ›

    Active transport requires energy. It could be compared to a ball moving up a hill. Active transport is the transport of molecules that require the use of energy, in the form of an energy-storing chemical called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to help them cross the cell membrane.

    What are the 2 types of diffusion? ›

    Diffusion can be divided into two main types, namely, simple diffusion and facilitated diffusion.

    What causes a cell to shrink? ›

    A hypertonic solution has increased solute, and a net movement of water outside causing the cell to shrink. A hypotonic solution has decreased solute concentration, and a net movement of water inside the cell, causing swelling or breakage.

    How do you strengthen the cell membrane? ›

    What does this mean? Avoid all vegetable oils, fried foods, make sure your magnesium intake is higher than your calcium intake, get adequate vitamin K2 to promote healthy cell membranes.

    What causes plasma membrane damage? ›

    Within a tissue environment, a multitude of stressors can induce plasma membrane damage through chemical disruptions and physical breaches. Here, we categorize 5 major sources of plasma membrane damage: mechanical, chemical, microbial, immune, and intracellular stressors (Fig.

    Can cells live without plasma membranes? ›

    A living cell cannot survive without a membrane. Apart from acting as a barrier and attachment site, cell membranes play important roles in living cells. Membranes have carrier proteins for transport, cell membranes also contain enzymes for a certain reactions.

    Does active transport need a pump? ›

    In active transport, the particles move across a cell membr ane from a lower concentration to a higher concentration. Active transport is the energy-requiring process of pumping molecules and ions across membranes "uphill" - against a concentration gradient.

    Does active transport need a carrier? ›

    Active transport requires specialized carrier proteins and the expenditure of cellular energy. Carrier proteins allow chemicals to cross membranes against a concentration gradient or when the phospholipid bilayer of the membrane is impermeable to a chemical.

    Does active transport require a carrier? ›

    Active transport requires a specialized carrier molecule, a protein, and the expenditure of cellular energy; transfer across membranes can therefore occur against a concentration gradient.

    What are 2 examples of active transport? ›

    Some of the best examples of active transport include: Phagocytosis of bacteria by Macrophages. Movement of Ca2+ ions out of cardiac muscle cells. Transportation of amino acids across the intestinal lining in the human gut.

    What is active transport quizlet? ›

    What is active transport? The movement of molecules or ions into or out of a cell from a region of lower concentration to a region of higher concentration using energy and carrier molecules.

    What are the 3 types of active and passive transport? ›

    Phagocytosis, pinocytosis, and sodium-potassium pump are examples of active transport while diffusion, facilitated diffusion and osmosis are examples of passive transport. 2.

    What affects active transport? ›

    Because energy is required for this process to occur, anything that prevents oxygen or glucose uptake by the cell will also prevent respiration. Without respiration, energy is not released from glucose and active transport cannot occur.

    What is active transport 7th grade? ›

    “Active transport is the movement of molecules across a membrane from a region of lower concentration to a region of higher concentration against the concentration gradient, often assisted by enzymes and requires energy”

    What are 5 examples of diffusion? ›

    Some examples of diffusion that occurs in our daily life are given below.
    • The smell of perfumes/Incense Sticks.
    • Opening the Soda/Cold Drinks bottle and the CO2 diffuses in the air.
    • Dipping the tea bags in hot water will diffuse the tea in hot water.
    • Small dust particles or smoke diffuse into the air and cause air pollution.

    What is diffusion list the 4 types? ›

    Diffusion is a type of passive transport. There are 4 types of passive transport in total: simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion, filtration, and osmosis.

    What causes diffusion *? ›

    Diffusion occurs because of the continued random kinetic motion of particles, a process that can also be affected by the temperature of a system. The greater the temperature, the greater the kinetic energy and rate in which the particles will mix and move down the concentration gradient.

    What is called diffusion *? ›

    diffusion, process resulting from random motion of molecules by which there is a net flow of matter from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration.

    What is called diffusion? ›

    Diffusion is defined as the movement of individual molecules of a substance through a semipermeable barrier from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration [34]. From: Handbook of Biopolymers and Biodegradable Plastics, 2013.

    What happens during diffusion? ›

    In the process of diffusion, a substance tends to move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration until its concentration becomes equal throughout a space.

    What makes cells increase in size? ›

    For a typical dividing mammalian cell, growth occurs in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and is tightly coordinated with S-phase (DNA synthesis) and M phase (mitosis). The combined influence of growth factors, hormones, and nutrient availability provides the external cues for cells to grow.

    What causes cells to grow longer? ›

    The increased size may be due to hyperplasia (dividing of resident cells) leading to an increase in cell number, infiltration of the kidney by inflammatory cells, an increase in extracellular matrix, an increase in blood flow, or a true increase in the size of a parenchymal cell (hypertrophy).

    What affects cell size? ›

    Cell size at division is determined by the balance between cell growth (the increase in mass or volume) and the timing of cell division. Interestingly, faster growth rates in bacteria and eukaryotes lead to larger cell size.

    What vitamins are good for the cell membrane? ›

    Vitamin E partitions into lipoproteins and cell membranes, where it represents a minor constituent of most membranes. It has a major function in its action as a lipid antioxidant to protect the polyunsaturated membrane lipids against free radical attack.

    What vitamin stabilizes cell membranes? ›

    Vitamin E is believed to be involved in a variety of physiological and biochemical functions. The molecular mechanism of these functions is believed to be mediated by either the antioxidant action of the vitamin or by its action as a membrane stabiliser.

    What nutrients help build cell membrane? ›

    Carbohydrates contribute to membrane structure and also typically function to support cellular signaling.

    What happens if cell transport fails? ›

    When something goes wrong with this transport process, the cell often cannot cope and sends out a distress signal that initiates cell death.

    Why is it important to know the transport mechanism? ›

    The transport mechanism will determine how the performance (flux and rejection) of membranes are being modeled in the water treatment process.

    What happens if active transport is disrupted? ›

    if it stopped working, the cell would stop moving sodium out, and since it is a polar molecule, it can't cross the cell membrane on its own. There would be more solutes inside the cell than on the outside, and water would flow into the cell towards the higher solute concentration, causing the cell to swell and lyse.

    What would happen to a cell if a transport protein was not working properly? ›

    If a membrane transport protein is missing, then certain materials cannot enter the cell, and the cell may die. If it is a non-membrane transport protein, then whatever it transports within the cell will not be transported and if will not get to the right place to be used.

    How does cell transport work? ›

    Cell transport is movement of materials across cell membranes. Cell transport includes passive and active transport. Passive transport does not require energy whereas active transport requires energy to proceed. Passive transport proceeds through diffusion, facilitated diffusion and osmosis.

    What factors affect cell transport? ›

    Cell permeability and cell fluidity are two essential properties, having roles in transporting molecules across the membrane. These properties are affected by physiological factors like temperature, pH, and the membrane's composition.

    What can enter a cell without a transporter? ›

    Not everything enters the cell through passive transport.

    Only the smallest molecules like water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen can freely diffuse across cell membranes. Larger molecules or charged molecules often require an input of energy to be transported into the cell.

    Which mode of transport is the most important? ›

    The most important modes of transportation in India is railways. Hence, the correct option is (b)

    What are the 4 types of transport mechanism? ›

    Types of transport mechanism

    There are four types of transport mechanisms in a cell. These are simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion, primary active transport and secondary active transport.

    What can stop active transport? ›

    Cyanide and azide are the two metabolic inhibitors that stop active transport.

    Is active transport necessary? ›

    Active transport is a very important process enabling cells to accumulate molecules or ions from the environment against the concentration gradient. Conversely, contents of cells heavily loaded with electrolytes or metabolic products can be excreted against the concentration gradient.

    What are the two factors affecting active transport? ›

    These include: a) Oxygen concentration. Oxygen is required in respiration process that yields energy for active transport. ... b) Change in pH.

    What are the 3 types of transport proteins? ›

    Channel proteins, gated channel proteins, and carrier proteins are three types of transport proteins that are involved in facilitated diffusion. A channel protein, a type of transport protein, acts like a pore in the membrane that lets water molecules or small ions through quickly.

    What is the function of a transport protein? ›

    Transport proteins in the cell membrane allow for selective passage of specific molecules from the external environment. Each transport protein is specific to a certian molecule (indicated by matching colors).

    What is an example of a transport protein? ›

    Haemoglobin protein is a transport protein or carrier protein because it carries oxygen from lungs to the other part of the human body.


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