Idea Bank: Demonstrating the Self-Assembly of the Cell Membrane

by: Gary Gaulin

Although the cell membrane is a complex structure, its basic form, and the self-organizing behavior of the molecules that produce it, can be easily simulated in a high school science classroom. One such simulation, described in this article, uses oil, water, and the cell membrane-forming molecules (phospholipids) of egg yolk. The demonstration allows students to observe the self-assembly of phospholipid membranes around oil and water droplets, which shows how easily polar forces help construct then hold together the cell membranes in living organisms.


Type Journal ArticlePub Date 10/1/2007Stock # tst07_074_07_72Volume 074Issue 07

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