Hardworking sodium/ potassium pump fundamentally similar to free-flowing ion channel
Right now, in your body, tiny pumps in the fatty membranes surrounding all your cells are hard at work pushing select charged ions, such as sodium, potassium or calcium, through those membranes. Like a water pump in a high-rise apartment building overcoming the force of gravity to move water up to a tank on its roof, these ion pumps work against "electrochemical gradients" to transport ions from one side of the membrane to the other.
Other tiny machines, called ion channels, also embedded within membranes, are like the apartment buildings faucets: they harness the energy stored in this "uphill" process by allowing ions to rush back "downhill" across the cell membrane through the channels open pores.
Whitney Clavin | EurekAlert!
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