The transport of molecules is divided into two types, namely, active transport and passive transport.
Active transport is characterized by the involvement of the energy because transport occurs against the concentration gradient, that is, from low to a high concentration. The hydrolysis of ATP molecule results in the release of inorganic phosphate and provides energy to the system. This energy leads to a force that helps the molecule to be transported against its concentration gradient. This type of transport mechanism always needs carrier proteins or pumps for the displacement of molecules across the cell.
Passive transport always occurs in favor of the concentration gradient that is direction from high to low concentration. The passive transport of molecules may be facilitated by simple diffusion.
The active transport mechanism is of two types, named as primary active transport and secondary active transport. The primary active transport mechanism uses the direct source of energy ATP. For example, The Na+-K+ ATPase pump is an example of primary active transport.
In the secondary active transport system, an electrochemical gradient is produced by active transport and thus a direct need for ATP molecules is not present in these systems. For example, uniporters and symporters that work following the concentration gradient for ionic transportation.
The Naâº Kâº ATPase pump â€“ Primary Active Transport mechanism:
The Naâº-Kâº pump was discovered by Jens Christian Skou in 1957 that helped scientists to understand the movement of ions from the cell and out of the cell. Skou was awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery. The Naâº Kâº pump helps to maintain the membrane potential back by allowing the equal concentration of Naâº inside the cell. The active transport system of the membrane helps in the exchange of sodium ions and potassium ions across the cell. It maintains the membrane potential of the cell membrane. Thus, the ionic movements help to develop and maintain a stable concentration gradient across the membrane. The Naâº Kâº pump cycle takes place in the following way:
Three sodium ions bind to pump protein which is a career molecule inside the cell. ATP phosphorylates the pump protein.
The three sodium ions enter the extracellular matrix and two potassium ions bind to pump protein.
The two potassium ions reach inside the cell and phosphate is released from pump protein converting it into original confirmation.
Secondary Active Transport mechanism:
There are hydrophobic molecules and small molecules such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water that can easily pass through the cell membrane due to their solubility and small size. All the other molecules transport is aided by the transport proteins. Carrier proteins are the transmembrane proteins that functions in the secondary active transport mechanism. In this transport mechanism, the movement of sodium ions is shared with other ionic molecules. They are classified into three types:
Uniporters: They allow the movement of the single molecular species across the concentration gradient in either direction. For example, Glucose transporters.
Symporters: They allow the movement of two types of molecules across the cell membrane simultaneously and in one direction. One molecule moves downhill, and other moves uphill. For example, the transfer of amino acids with sodium ions across the intestinal lining in the human gut.
Antiporters: They allow the movement of two different types of molecules in opposite directions at the same time. One species moves high to low concentration that generates potential to move other species from low to high concentration. For example, Naâº-Hâº transporters that exchange sodium ions with hydrogen ions across the cell membrane.
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