The Lipid Bilayer Video Lessons

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Problem: The steroid lipid cholesterol is a component of membranes. Identify true statements about cholesterol and its role in membrane fluidity. Select all the true statements. A. Cholesterol is generally buried in the bilayer, with its planar rings oriented toward the solvent and its hydroxyl group aligned with the fatty acid tails of the bilayer. B. Cholesterol increases membrane fluidity in a membrane that otherwise contains mostly long-chain saturated fatty acids. C. Cholesterol inhibits the crystallization that would otherwise occur in membranes rich in unsaturated fatty acids. D. Cholesterol decreases membrane fluidity in areas called rafts, which contain large amounts of sphingolipids and cholesterol.

FREE Expert Solution

Cholesterol: embeds itself in the membrane, maintaining membrane fluidity

At ↓ temperature: prevents close packing of phospholipids = ↑ membrane fluidity

At ↑ temperature: constrains motion of phospholipids = ↓ membrane fluidity

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Problem Details

The steroid lipid cholesterol is a component of membranes. Identify true statements about cholesterol and its role in membrane fluidity. Select all the true statements. 

A. Cholesterol is generally buried in the bilayer, with its planar rings oriented toward the solvent and its hydroxyl group aligned with the fatty acid tails of the bilayer. 

B. Cholesterol increases membrane fluidity in a membrane that otherwise contains mostly long-chain saturated fatty acids. 

C. Cholesterol inhibits the crystallization that would otherwise occur in membranes rich in unsaturated fatty acids. 

D. Cholesterol decreases membrane fluidity in areas called rafts, which contain large amounts of sphingolipids and cholesterol.

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