Cell Membrane and Transport: Modifying the cell membrane Virtual Lab

Discover the structure and function of cell membranes using the fluid mosaic model. Apply your learning to improve the health of synthetic cells that the lead researcher wants to use to produce insulin.

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  • Description
  • Features

About the Cell Membrane and Transport: Modifying the cell membrane Virtual Lab

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “Cell Membrane and Transport” simulation.

Join Dr. B.I.O. Hacker in her synthetic biology lab, where she wants to change the world! In this simulation, you will learn about the structure and function of the cell membrane, and discover why membrane transporters are vital for healthy cells and the function of organ systems.

The synthetic biology lab

Your mission begins in the synthetic biology lab. Here you will meet Dr. Hacker, who will share with you her idea to change the world. She will introduce you to the concept of selective permeability and the fluid mosaic models of the plasma membrane. Together, you will explore why cells need specialized transporter proteins to transport cargo molecules across their membranes.

Apply your knowledge

Test whether inserting a transporter protein in the membrane would help certain molecules to enter the cell. To do so, you will set up a fluorescence microscopy experiment to measure transport in living cells. First, you will learn how to use a pipette, and then you will add two types of dye to the cells. The cells will then be incubated, which is quick and easy in a virtual lab! By comparing the modified synthetic cells to the positive and negative controls, you can determine the effect of the transporter proteins.

Role in the body

Finally, discover how some transporter proteins do not only keep the cell healthy but also help organ systems to function. From filtration in the kidneys to the contraction of muscles during exercise, membrane transport contributes to many processes. Can you find out how?

Get started now

Discover the structure and function of cell membranes using the fluid mosaic model. Apply your learning to improve the health of synthetic cells that the lead researcher wants to use to produce insulin.

Techniques in lab
Data interpretation, Microscopy sample preparation, Experimental design, Fluorescence Microscopy
Learning objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to...

  • Describe the plasma membrane structure using the fluid mosaic model
  • Recognize the relative permeability of lipid bilayers to different classes of molecule
  • Relate the expression of specific transport proteins to the cell's role
Simulation features

Length: 25 Minutes
Accessibility mode: Available
Languages: English (United States)

NGSS

High level content, may support HS-LS2

IB

Biology 1.4 Membrane transport

AP

High level content, may support Biology 2.6 Membrane transport