Biology Project >
Cell Biology > Cell Membranes > Problem
2: Lipids and aqueous barriers
While on a trip to the desert, a friend of yours was bitten by a rattlesnake.
He nearly died from hemolysis, or breakage of many of his red blood
cells. You have analyzed the snake venom and found three enzymes: phospholipase,
which degrades phospholipids; neuraminidase, which removes cell surface
carbohydrates; and protease which degrades proteins. Which of these
enzymes do you think was responsible for his near fatal red blood cell
||The neuraminidase lysis the carbohydrate rich glycocalyx
leading to cell breakage since this layer is responsible for strengthening
the cell membrane.
||The protease would degrade transmembrane proteins
leading to cell lysis.
The phospholipase would degrade the phospholipids,
the component of a membrane creating a barrier.
Yes, as described in the tutorial for
question 1, the lipid bilayer serves as an aqueous barrier.
Hemolysis, or the breaking of red blood cell membranes, would
be caused by degrading phospholipids. Degrading carbohydrates
or proteins of cell membranes results in the loss of membranes
functions, without changing the ability of the membrane to
serve as a barrier.
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