Thursday, February 23, 2017

Building, imagining, and thinking

When building the model of the phospholipid membrane and the protein, we obviously spent a large timebuilding the model. By trying out and fitting different pieces together, we saw the membrane and protein start to take place. But, before we could build, we had to imagine what our model would look like. By using our knowledge of phospholipids gained in class, we had a rough idea, but some google searches and sketches helped iron out our plan. We began the process by building our own sections individually, while collaborating on how the final product would look like. Eventually, we contributed to each other’s pieces, arranging and combining our separate parts into a  homogenous membrane. Then, we had to build our protein, which had to go through the membrane. We thankfully had left a gap in our membrane for the protein to exist, but it took  couple tries for us to figure out to how to best represent the protein. Our first attempt did not go very well, but by thinking, along with some teacher input, we found a way to represent the protein existing through the membrane, and making it defined on both sides.

We went to great lengths to make our membrane permeable. By representing it as not a box, but as a 3D, imperfect, biological structure, we hopefully came as close as we could to representing a membrane as it exists in nature. Permeability was executed by assuring that the “walls” were not solid, and that the protein stuck through the membrane, showing how phospholipids can move out of the way for the protein, then move back into envelope the protein. It is this co-existence between the membrane and the protein that assures that they can both exist and perform their requisite functions.

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