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Immune System Functionality and the Plasma Membrane

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The integrity of the plasma membrane is essential for cellular survival.

a. Could the immune system utilize this fact to destroy foreign cells that have invaded the body?
b. How might cells of the immune system disrupt membranes of foreign cells?

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Solution Summary

The solution to these questions lies in understanding the nature of protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions. Specifically, I explain the role of integral membrane "pore" proteins.

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Here's how it can work. Almost all cells, including the many cells of the body's immune system can secrete proteins with very specialized functions. An immune cell secretes a special protein that recognizes foreign cells. Then they bind to the surface of these foreign cells. How? By interacting with membrane proteins ...

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