Otolithic Membrane: A gelatinous membrane overlying the acoustic maculae of SACCULE AND UTRICLE. It contains minute crystalline particles (otoliths) of CALCIUM CARBONATE and protein on its outer surface. In response to head movement, the otoliths shift causing distortion of the vestibular hair cells which transduce nerve signals to the BRAIN for interpretation of equilibrium.Membranes: Thin layers of tissue which cover parts of the body, separate adjacent cavities, or connect adjacent structures.Membrane Lipids: Lipids, predominantly phospholipids, cholesterol and small amounts of glycolipids found in membranes including cellular and intracellular membranes. These lipids may be arranged in bilayers in the membranes with integral proteins between the layers and peripheral proteins attached to the outside. Membrane lipids are required for active transport, several enzymatic activities and membrane formation.Cell Membrane: The lipid- and protein-containing, selectively permeable membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.Intracellular Membranes: Thin structures that encapsulate subcellular structures or ORGANELLES in EUKARYOTIC CELLS. They include a variety of membranes associated with the CELL NUCLEUS; the MITOCHONDRIA; the GOLGI APPARATUS; the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM; LYSOSOMES; PLASTIDS; and VACUOLES.Membrane Potentials: The voltage differences across a membrane. For cellular membranes they are computed by subtracting the voltage measured outside the membrane from the voltage measured inside the membrane. They result from differences of inside versus outside concentration of potassium, sodium, chloride, and other ions across cells' or ORGANELLES membranes. For excitable cells, the resting membrane potentials range between -30 and -100 millivolts. Physical, chemical, or electrical stimuli can make a membrane potential more negative (hyperpolarization), or less negative (depolarization).Membranes, Artificial: Artificially produced membranes, such as semipermeable membranes used in artificial kidney dialysis (RENAL DIALYSIS), monomolecular and bimolecular membranes used as models to simulate biological CELL MEMBRANES. These membranes are also used in the process of GUIDED TISSUE REGENERATION.Erythrocyte Membrane: The semi-permeable outer structure of a red blood cell. It is known as a red cell 'ghost' after HEMOLYSIS.Membrane Fluidity: The motion of phospholipid molecules within the lipid bilayer, dependent on the classes of phospholipids present, their fatty acid composition and degree of unsaturation of the acyl chains, the cholesterol concentration, and temperature.Cell Membrane Permeability: A quality of cell membranes which permits the passage of solvents and solutes into and out of cells.Basement Membrane: A darkly stained mat-like EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX (ECM) that separates cell layers, such as EPITHELIUM from ENDOTHELIUM or a layer of CONNECTIVE TISSUE. The ECM layer that supports an overlying EPITHELIUM or ENDOTHELIUM is called basal lamina. Basement membrane (BM) can be formed by the fusion of either two adjacent basal laminae or a basal lamina with an adjacent reticular lamina of connective tissue. BM, composed mainly of TYPE IV COLLAGEN; glycoprotein LAMININ; and PROTEOGLYCAN, provides barriers as well as channels between interacting cell layers.Membrane Transport Proteins: Membrane proteins whose primary function is to facilitate the transport of molecules across a biological membrane. Included in this broad category are proteins involved in active transport (BIOLOGICAL TRANSPORT, ACTIVE), facilitated transport and ION CHANNELS.Membrane Glycoproteins: Glycoproteins found on the membrane or surface of cells.Lipid Bilayers: Layers of lipid molecules which are two molecules thick. Bilayer systems are frequently studied as models of biological membranes.Mitochondrial Membranes: The two lipoprotein layers in the MITOCHONDRION. The outer membrane encloses the entire mitochondrion and contains channels with TRANSPORT PROTEINS to move molecules and ions in and out of the organelle. The inner membrane folds into cristae and contains many ENZYMES important to cell METABOLISM and energy production (MITOCHONDRIAL ATP SYNTHASE).Microscopy, Electron: Microscopy using an electron beam, instead of light, to visualize the sample, thereby allowing much greater magnification. The interactions of ELECTRONS with specimens are used to provide information about the fine structure of that specimen. In TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen are imaged. In SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY an electron beam falls at a non-normal angle on the specimen and the image is derived from the reactions occurring above the plane of the specimen.Protein Transport: The process of moving proteins from one cellular compartment (including extracellular) to another by various sorting and transport mechanisms such as gated transport, protein translocation, and vesicular transport.Synaptic Membranes: Cell membranes associated with synapses. Both presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes are included along with their integral or tightly associated specializations for the release or reception of transmitters.Cell Line: Established cell cultures that have the potential to propagate indefinitely.Liposomes: Artificial, single or multilaminar vesicles (made from lecithins or other lipids) that are used for the delivery of a variety of biological molecules or molecular complexes to cells, for example, drug delivery and gene transfer. They are also used to study membranes and membrane proteins.Protein Binding: The process in which substances, either endogenous or exogenous, bind to proteins, peptides, enzymes, protein precursors, or allied compounds. Specific protein-binding measures are often used as assays in diagnostic assessments.Calcium: A basic element found in nearly all organized tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol Ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes.Models, Biological: Theoretical representations that simulate the behavior or activity of biological processes or diseases. For disease models in living animals, DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL is available. Biological models include the use of mathematical equations, computers, and other electronic equipment.Cell Fractionation: Techniques to partition various components of the cell into SUBCELLULAR FRACTIONS.Protein Structure, Tertiary: The level of protein structure in which combinations of secondary protein structures (alpha helices, beta sheets, loop regions, and motifs) pack together to form folded shapes called domains. Disulfide bridges between cysteines in two different parts of the polypeptide chain along with other interactions between the chains play a role in the formation and stabilization of tertiary structure. Small proteins usually consist of only one domain but larger proteins may contain a number of domains connected by segments of polypeptide chain which lack regular secondary structure.Carrier Proteins: Transport proteins that carry specific substances in the blood or across cell membranes.Extraembryonic Membranes: The thin layers of tissue that surround the developing embryo. There are four extra-embryonic membranes commonly found in VERTEBRATES, such as REPTILES; BIRDS; and MAMMALS. They are the YOLK SAC, the ALLANTOIS, the AMNION, and the CHORION. These membranes provide protection and means to transport nutrients and wastes.Hydrogen-Ion Concentration: The normality of a solution with respect to HYDROGEN ions; H+. It is related to acidity measurements in most cases by pH = log 1/2[1/(H+)], where (H+) is the hydrogen ion concentration in gram equivalents per liter of solution. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 6th ed)Detergents: Purifying or cleansing agents, usually salts of long-chain aliphatic bases or acids, that exert cleansing (oil-dissolving) and antimicrobial effects through a surface action that depends on possessing both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties.Escherichia coli: A species of gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria (GRAM-NEGATIVE FACULTATIVELY ANAEROBIC RODS) commonly found in the lower part of the intestine of warm-blooded animals. It is usually nonpathogenic, but some strains are known to produce DIARRHEA and pyogenic infections. Pathogenic strains (virotypes) are classified by their specific pathogenic mechanisms such as toxins (ENTEROTOXIGENIC ESCHERICHIA COLI), etc.Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel: Electrophoresis in which a polyacrylamide gel is used as the diffusion medium.Endoplasmic Reticulum: A system of cisternae in the CYTOPLASM of many cells. In places the endoplasmic reticulum is continuous with the plasma membrane (CELL MEMBRANE) or outer membrane of the nuclear envelope. If the outer surfaces of the endoplasmic reticulum membranes are coated with ribosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum is said to be rough-surfaced (ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM, ROUGH); otherwise it is said to be smooth-surfaced (ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM, SMOOTH). (King & Stansfield, A Dictionary of Genetics, 4th ed)Phosphatidylcholines: Derivatives of phosphatidic acids in which the phosphoric acid is bound in ester linkage to a choline moiety. Complete hydrolysis yields 1 mole of glycerol, phosphoric acid and choline and 2 moles of fatty acids.Cells, Cultured: Cells propagated in vitro in special media conducive to their growth. Cultured cells are used to study developmental, morphologic, metabolic, physiologic, and genetic processes, among others.Golgi Apparatus: A stack of flattened vesicles that functions in posttranslational processing and sorting of proteins, receiving them from the rough ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM and directing them to secretory vesicles, LYSOSOMES, or the CELL MEMBRANE. The movement of proteins takes place by transfer vesicles that bud off from the rough endoplasmic reticulum or Golgi apparatus and fuse with the Golgi, lysosomes or cell membrane. (From Glick, Glossary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1990)Mutation: Any detectable and heritable change in the genetic material that causes a change in the GENOTYPE and which is transmitted to daughter cells and to succeeding generations.Bacterial Proteins: Proteins found in any species of bacterium.Microscopy, Fluorescence: Microscopy of specimens stained with fluorescent dye (usually fluorescein isothiocyanate) or of naturally fluorescent materials, which emit light when exposed to ultraviolet or blue light. Immunofluorescence microscopy utilizes antibodies that are labeled with fluorescent dye.