Biology Project >
Cell Biology > Cell Membranes > Problem
2: Lipids and aqueous barriers
Tutorial to help answer the question
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
membrane, leading to cell breakage.
||The protease would degrade transmembrane proteins
leading to cell lysis.
||The phospholipase would degrade the phospholipids,
the component of a membrane creating a barrier.
The tutorial for question
1 covers this problem in detail. The phospholipid bilayer
forms a barrier, preventing contents of the red blood cell from
leaving the cell.
Phospholipases degrade phospholipids, and would cause hemolysis,
or loss of the integrity of the red blood cell membrane leading
to loss of hemoglobin from inside the cell.
|The chances of being bitten by a rattlesnake
are very small. Many people are bitten when they attempt to catch
the snake. The treatment for a rattlesnake bite is to get the
person to an emergency room that can administer antivenom, or
antibodies that can neutralize protein in venom.
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