Active Transport – Sodium-Potassium Pump: One of the most important membrane transport proteins in human cells is the sodium ion-potassium ion pump. On pages 81-82, your textbook covers the importance of maintaining electrochemical gradients across the plasma membrane. Animal cells do this primarily by regulating the concentrations of sodium ions (Na+) and potassium ions (K+) in order to create electrochemical gradients of these ions. These gradients can then be used as energy sources (we will talk more about Energy in Chapter 4) to drive movement of numerous other cell solutes in directions that are essential to life in these cells.
You should review these pages in your textbook, and then access the BioNinja webpage on Active Transport which also gives a good visual display of how the sodium-potassium pump works.
7. Regarding the sodium-potassium pump, this protein is involved in active transport. Relate what this means in terms of what you’ve earned in Chapter 3. Specifically, does it require ATP for energy to function? Will the solutes (potassium ions and sodium ions) move from low to high concentration or from high to low concentration across the membrane?
8. Which side of the membrane (outside or inside) has the higher sodium ion concentration? How many sodium ions will be transported by the pump in one cycle, and in what direction will they move (outside to inside or inside to outside)?
9. Which side of the membrane (outside or inside) has the higher potassium ion concentration? How many potassium ions will be transported by the pump in one cycle, and in what direction will they move (outside to inside or inside to outside)?
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