Cell Membrane and Transport: Types of transporter proteins

Discover the structure and function of cell membranes by launching cargo molecules at a virtual cell.

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  • Description
  • Features

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

You have been teleported to a virtual cell! In this simulation you will learn about the molecules that are able to diffuse across the cell membrane and the molecules that require a transporter protein to enter or leave the cell. Here, you can explore the different channels, carriers, and pumps that exist in the membrane and how they ensure that only the right molecules enter under the right conditions.

The main types of transport

Your mission begins by launching molecules at the virtual cell to discover which molecules can travel through the cell membrane alone and which molecules require transporter proteins. You will learn the role of each of the main types of transporter protein: the aquaporin, the carrier protein, and the channel protein.

Transport subtypes and gating mechanisms

Next, you will discover the role of each transporter protein subtypes, and how they work, by launching ions and molecules at the transporter proteins in the cell membrane of our virtual cell. For example, if a molecule needs to be transported by a carrier protein then you will need to identify the transporter proteins on the cell which are a subtype of the carrier protein.

Transport against chemical gradients

Finally, you will identify the transporter proteins that can transport molecules against a chemical gradient and how they work by launching molecules at the virtual cell. By the end of the simulation you will have learned about how ions and molecules can cross the cell membrane by using different types of transporter proteins.

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Discover the structure and function of cell membranes by launching cargo molecules at a virtual cell.

Techniques in lab
Learning objectives

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

  • Recognize the relative permeability of lipid bilayers to different classes of molecule
  • Compare active and passive transport of molecules
  • Identify the 3 modes of active transport and the different classes of ion channel and carrier molecules
Simulation features

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


High level content, may support HS-LS2


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