Membranes are the boundaries of cells and cell components and what they let in and out influences everything an organism does for what it allows in and out to the generation of energy. This course aims to show you the pivotal role of membranes in the cell physiology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including both plant and animal cells. There are three broad themes within the module: 1) the role and properties of membranes; 2) how energy is generated within the cell; 3) metabolism.
The module begins by considering the nature of membranes and the lipid and protein components that make up these array-like structures. We then move to looking at how membranes define compartments.
The course will then focus on the energy transduction occurring in and around mitochondria and chloroplasts, how electron-transfer pathways are created and how ATP and carbohydrate is generated. To this end, oxidative phosphorylation, in animal and microbial cells and photoshynthesis will be explored in some detail.
The metabolism of carbohydrates is then examined; including gluconeogenesis and the pentose phosphate pathway, as well as the Calvin cycle, as these reactions are essential to understand the molecular basis of photosynthesis. Finally, the control of metabolic pathways to match to the needs of the cell and the organism is considered, the mechanisms by which this regulation is achieved and the influence of hormones and other factors on these processes.