Q:

What is the process that allows sugar molecules to enter cells?

A:

Quick Answer

Facilitated diffusion, a form of passive transport, is the process that allows sugars to enter cells. Scientists also refer to this process as facilitated transport. During the process, glucose crosses the cell membrane.

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Full Answer

About.com says that glucose is unable to pass through the lipid layer of the cell wall, due to the hydrophobic nature of the lipids, although small molecules such as oxygen are able to pass easily. Sugar molecules pass through proteins that form transmembrane channels. These channels have gates that open and close, allowing selected molecules through the cell walls. Carrier proteins transport the larger molecules, including glucose and amino acids. Closing these gates protects the cell from disease and potential danger.

According to HowStuffWorks, all the processes the cell carries out require energy. Generating energy is a basic process of all cells. It is generated by rearranging glucose molecules by controlled oxidation or cellular respiration. Plants, bacteria and algae create the carbohydrates they need for cellular respiration through photosynthesis, transport them to the cells and oxidize them for energy. Animals, as well as some bacteria and certain protists, are unable to produce carbohydrates and depend on their environment for this energy supply. Once the cell releases the energy from glucose, it stores it in the bonds of ATP.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the similarity between simple diffusion and facilitated diffusion?

    A:

    Simple diffusion and facilitated diffusion both allow molecules to cross the cell membrane without any expenditure of energy by the cell. They are each classified as a type of passive transport.

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  • Q:

    How do sodium ions enter cells?

    A:

    The cell membrane is not very permeable to sodium ions, so they must enter through a process known as facilitated diffusion. In facilitated diffusion, sodium passes through the cell membrane in a voltage-gated ion channel, which is opened by a change in electrical current across the membrane.

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  • Q:

    How do amino acids and glucose move across the cell membrane?

    A:

    Amino acids, glucose and other large membrane insoluble compounds move through the cell membrane through a process known as facilitated diffusion. This process involves transmembrane proteins, which open up a small water-filled channel through which the molecules can pass into or out of the cell.

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  • Q:

    How does temperature affect osmosis?

    A:

    The process of osmosis accelerates when the temperature rises just as it does with any process of general diffusion. While the process of diffusion is more random than that of osmosis, both processes rely on the movement of particles to attain equilibrium. As a general rule, particles move faster when they are at elevated temperatures, and they move slower when at reduced temperatures.

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