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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe how active transport can use ATP energy to move solutes against the concentration gradient
  • Describe the general process of endocytosis, including phagocytosis
  • Describe the general process of exocytosis

Active transport mechanisms require the use of the cell’s energy, usually in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). If a substance must move into the cell against its concentration gradient, that is, if the concentration of the substance inside the cell must be greater than its concentration in the extracellular fluid, the cell must use energy to move the substance. Some active transport mechanisms move small-molecular weight material, such as ions, through the membrane.

In addition to moving small ions and molecules through the membrane, cells also need to remove and take in larger molecules and particles. Some cells are even capable of engulfing entire unicellular microorganisms. You might have correctly hypothesized that the uptake and release of large particles by the cell requires energy. A large particle, however, cannot pass through the membrane, even with energy supplied by the cell.

Primary active transport

There are several types of active transport. The principle one that will be discussed is primary active transport, which uses a combination of ATP energy and a transport protein to move substances across the membrane against the concentration gradient. ATP is hydrolyzed, via an enzyme-catalyzed reaction, to ADP and the lost phosphate group attaches to the protein. This joining causes a conformational change in the shape of the transport protein and the particular substance is moved across the membrane against the concentration gradient. An example of primary active transport is the sodium-potassium pump, which is involved in nerve impulses and is discussed in a later chapter.

Endocytosis

Endocytosis is a type of active transport that moves particles, such as large molecules, parts of cells, and even whole cells, into a cell. There are different variations of endocytosis, but all share a common characteristic: The plasma membrane of the cell invaginates, forming a pocket around the target particle. The pocket pinches off, resulting in the particle being contained in a newly created vacuole that is formed from the plasma membrane.

Three types of endocytosis are shown: (a) phagocytosis, (b) pinocytosis, and (c) receptor-mediated endocytosis. Part a shows the plasma membrane forming a pocket around a particle in the extracellular fluid. The membrane subsequently engulfs the particle, which becomes trapped in a vacuole. Part b shows a plasma membrane forming a pocket around fluid in the extracellular fluid. The membrane subsequently engulfs the fluid, which becomes trapped in a vacuole. Part c shows a part of the plasma membrane that is clathrin-coated on the cytoplasmic side and has receptors on the extracellular side. The receptors bind a substance, then pinch off to form a coated vesicle.
Three variations of endocytosis are shown. (a) In one form of endocytosis, phagocytosis, the cell membrane surrounds the particle and pinches off to form an intracellular vacuole. (b) In another type of endocytosis, pinocytosis, the cell membrane surrounds a small volume of fluid and pinches off, forming a vesicle. (c) In receptor-mediated endocytosis, uptake of substances by the cell is targeted to a single type of substance that binds at the receptor on the external cell membrane. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villarreal)

Phagocytosis is the process by which large particles, such as cells, are taken in by a cell. For example, when microorganisms invade the human body, a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil removes the invader through this process, surrounding and engulfing the microorganism, which is then destroyed by the neutrophil ( [link] ).

Exocytosis

In contrast to these methods of moving material into a cell is the process of exocytosis. Exocytosis is the opposite of the processes discussed above in that its purpose is to expel material from the cell into the extracellular fluid. A particle enveloped in membrane fuses with the interior of the plasma membrane. This fusion opens the membranous envelope to the exterior of the cell, and the particle is expelled into the extracellular space ( [link] ).

A vesicle containing waste products is shown in the cytoplasm. The vesicle migrates to the cell membrane. The membrane of the vesicle fuses with the cell membrane, and the contents of the vesicle are released to the extracellular fluid.
In exocytosis, a vesicle migrates to the plasma membrane, binds, and releases its contents to the outside of the cell. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villarreal)

Section summary

Primary active transport uses energy stored in ATP to fuel the transport. Active transport of small molecular-size material uses integral proteins in the cell membrane to move the material—these proteins are analogous to pumps. Some pumps, which carry out primary active transport, couple directly with ATP to drive their action.

Endocytosis methods require the direct use of ATP to fuel the transport of large particles such as macromolecules; parts of cells or whole cells can be engulfed by other cells in a process called phagocytosis. In phagocytosis, a portion of the membrane invaginates and flows around the particle, eventually pinching off and leaving the particle wholly enclosed by an envelope of plasma membrane. The cell expels waste and other particles through the reverse process, exocytosis. Wastes are moved outside the cell, pushing a membranous vesicle to the plasma membrane, allowing the vesicle to fuse with the membrane and incorporating itself into the membrane structure, releasing its contents to the exterior of the cell.

Questions & Answers

what is the faction of photo receptors in the eye
Mutangana Reply
transduction of light to nervous impulses occurr it is located in the retina
Maureen
wat are e constituents of blood
marybertiny Reply
Can a cell be destroyed by the bacteria
Makhanya Reply
anamia. because of loss of blood
fon Reply
Name the element which is liquid
Sandeep Reply
hg
RC
CO2
Maureen
Bromine
Aaron
what is the dept of respiration plz?
Maureen
Maureen where are you from
Omokaro
mercury
VANESSA
bromine
VANESSA
which of the muscle can work with out getting tired?
nikkita
heart
Anam
Hg
Samiullah
what is the unit of muscles?
Samiullah
acid are organic or inorganic
Samiullah
why is the baby formed in the uterus n not else where?
Ekali Reply
you may help me ,to know why
mar
lo i am inn
mar
the womb is to protect the baby because inside the womb the lay in a fluid called the amniotic fluid which keeps the baby warm and it also have the placenta which the baby feeds from
Maureen
atom, molecules, organelle, cell, tissue, organ, organ system
Cheila Reply
sub atom atom molecular molecules and cells.
Advertus
cells structural level.
Advertus
what is microorganisms I am a laboratory student.
Advertus
a small organism
Rahbliss
small organism that can only be seen under a microscope
Maureen
i am just interested to be part of ,to learn
mar
explain why is it that old peoples as from the age of 60 usually have eye problems?
Kenn Reply
most old people suffere eye problems.because of short sight where individuals with this kind of problems see only near objects clearly but not distance objects, this is cause by elongated eyeball so light from distance is focus infront the retina so the image on the retina is blurred .
Munyah
plasma DNA cytoplasm Ribosome
Pearl Reply
cell, tissue,organ, organ systems,organism
Pearl Reply
cell is the build block of Life
Pearl
also a smallest unit of life
Frankline
sure..
Pearl
consistsof cytoplsm enclosed with in a membrane which contains many biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids
Frankline
differences in the effects of infection by HIV and influenza A virus on host genetic variability.
Yo Reply
i dont know
Ubah
hiv is direct contact of blood or body fluid and if not treated can break down the immune system faster and lead to acids with complications of pneumonia skin infections inflammation of the brain etc.while influenza A is a air borne virus which can cause the common cold pain fever and can be cured
Maureen
A.I.D.S
Maureen
suggest bioingormatics research article plz
peermehirali
what makes the heart to pumps blood?
Jamer Reply
sa node
Ubah
i do think its the nerve tranmission to the brain
Frankline
The contracting and relaxing of the atria and vertricles but the electrical system of the heart is what makes this possible.
keynia
yes which is called autorhymicity
Maureen
Yes,,by sucking blood leading to the weakening of cells,and finally it will be destroyed....
R0se
adrenoline action in brains
Frankline Reply
please describe the human heart brefly
Shah Reply
the size of the heart is like a fist. it has four chambers. the left and right upper atrium which push blood in the lower left and right ventricles which in turns pump blood to the lungs or the rest of the body.
Maureen
how do u prove it
Frankline
Maureen is correct ,
Davis
right
Kenn
right
Ubah
hi
horyaal
mxaa lahayaa
horyaal
What is housing?
Baldwin Reply
is where located you
Ubah

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Source:  OpenStax, Human biology. OpenStax CNX. Dec 01, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11903/1.3
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