- Ben Fuchs
On the TV show Star Trek, when the starship Enterprise makes the jump from regular cruising to warp speed, there’s a momentary jolt as the spaceship leaps to the higher, faster-than-light velocity. This type of bumpy ride is a boundary phenomenon and is always experienced as changes occur from one condition to another. Changes, after all, are never easy! This bumpy boundary “change” that occurs as one speed is changing to the next can be thought of as a type of membrane which is in essence an adjustment from one type of substance to another. Scientists call these substances “phases” and they refer to the change that occurs from one phase to another as a “phase shift”. Phase shifts can be thought of as transformations and anytime there is a transformation there is going to be a period of adjustment, hence the bump. And, that phase shift period of adjustment is chemically represented by what is referred to as the membrane.
This transition from the watery milieu inside a cell through the oily cell covering and into the outer cellular environment is regulated and facilitated by the chemical components of the membrane. And, of these chemical components, which include fats and proteins, none is more important than choline, a molecule that can have BOTH watery and fatty properties. This ambi-dextrous nature makes choline an ideal molecule for the membrane transition area.