Lipids and Biomembranes

ID #1764

What is membrane fluidity and what are the three different possible movements for a phospholipid in a biological membrane?

The fluidity of a membrane is a qualitative measurement of how easy it is for a molecule to move around in that membrane, or how easy it would be to stretch out that membrane without breaking it, and so forth. It is conceptually the opposite of stability.
If you're an individual phospholipid in a fluid membrane, you can either spin around in place (rotation), you can move around within your leaflet (lateral shift), or you can be "flipped" to the other leaflet (transverse diffusion).

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