Course Title Membrane Biochemistry
Course Level 200
Credit Unit 2


The boundries of cells are formed by biological membranes which are the barriers that define the inside and the outside of cell. This barrier prevents molecules generated inside the cell from leaking out and unwanted molecules from difusing in. However, they also contain transport systems that allow specific molecles to be taken up and unwanted compounds to be removed from the cell. This type of transport system endows the membrane with important property of selective permeability. Membranes are dynamic structure in which protein floats in sea of lipids. The external membrane is also refered to as plasma membrane. Eukariotic cell in addition also contain internal membrane that form the boundry of organnels such as mitochondria, chloroplast, perisosomes and lysosomes. External and internal membrane has essential features in common. Biological membrane serves several additional important functions which are important to life.


The student will learn about

  • Structure, composition and functions of biological membranes 

  • Isolation, characterization and classification of membranes 

  • Chemistry and biosynthesis of membranes

  • Molecular organization of membrane components

  • Natural and artificial membrane bilayers

  • The unit membrane hypothesis

  • Membrane transport system - active versus passive transport systems

  • Transport of sugars and amino acids; ionophores

  • Essential elements of cellular transduction mechanisms that allow signaling from the cell surface to the nucleus

  • Synthesis of peptide signals, receptors and receptor trafficking, second messengers, protein kinase cascades

  • Cell cycle regulation and the regulation of transcription factors

  • Membrane receptors and diseases


At the end of the course, the student is expected to:

  1. Draw the structure, identify the composition and gain knowledge on the functions of biological membranes 

  2. Isolate, characterize, classify and able to synthesize membranes 

  3. Identify the molecular organization of membrane components, natural and artificial membrane bilayers

  4. Explain the membrane transport processes; passive and active transport 

  5. Identify essential elements of cellular transduction mechanisms

  6. Describe the cell cycle regulation and the regulation of transcription factors

  7. Identify diseases that can affect membrane