Membranes! (Music Video)

Buy Membranes on iTunesBuy the video at TeachersPayTeachers.

You can scroll down below the video to read the lyrics. Or,

  1. Click here to view a downloadable pdf of the lyrics on a separate page.
  2. Click here for a Membranes Crossword Puzzle
  3. Click here for a slideshow that you can use to present the lyrics with visuals from the video
  4. Click here for the Membranes Tutorials Menu
  5. Click here for the Membranes! Karaoke Version (same song, voice track dropped out. Sing and learn!)

Membranes Lyrics

If you’re in a cell’s cytoplasm, heading outside,
Your last stop’s a barrier, 8 nanometers wide,
The cell membrane: our subject for today
It’s as basic to life as DNA

It’s selectively permeable, like a border patrol
of a country it maintains control.
Selecting what leaves or what gains entry
It’s a guard, bouncer, watchman, patrolman or sentry.

But not just a guard, it sends signals in nerves
White blood cells use their membranes to eat germs like hors d’oeuvres,
Membranes have receptors, enzymes and junctions,
So what kinds of structure can have all these functions?

C-E double L, “Mem” B-R-A-N-E
Controlling transport selective permeability
Phospholipids, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Cholesterol
The Fluid Mosaic Bilayer in us all

So let’s take a look at what makes up the membrane,
Phospholipids rule this domain,
In fact membrane structure emerges directly
from phospholipids’ chemical properties.

There’s a head and a tail on every phospholipid,
The tail’s two long chain fatty acids
Bound to a glycerol, it’s made to order
The tail’s non-polar – hydrophobic – fears water

The head’s got a phosphate, it’s charged negatively,
makes the head hydrophilic – plays in water happily
So tail avoids water while the head’s attracted to it,
When phospholipids form the membrane that’s how they do it.

Cause when phospholipids into water get submerged,
A phospholipid bilayer structure will emerge
The tails hang together in a water free zone,
Hear their hydrophobic moan, “water leave me alone!”

While the heads are sticking out touching all those H2Os
Tails in, heads out, it’s how every membrane goes
Tails in, heads out, in a cellular sphere,
It’s the bilayered basis of membranes everywhere.


But a cell membrane’s not just a phospholipid scene
There’s cholesterol, carbohydrates, lots of proteins.
In fact, membrane proteins have a presence so great,
that they often exceed the phospholipids by weight.

And all of these components are in constant motion,
Moving, mixing like a boiling potion,
Flowing like dancers in a party in Passaic
That’s why the membrane’s thought of as a fluid mosaic.

Let’s start with proteins since they’re key in this mix.
Transmembrane proteins span the entire width.
Typically they’re ports– think of channels or conveyors,
For things that don’t go through the lipid bilayer.

Any protein embedded in the hydrophobic middle
Built right into the inside is considered integral
While peripheral proteins either hang on the exterior,
Or inside on the cytoplasmic interior.

Cholesterol keeps membranes flowing with ease,
In cold it keeps the lipids moving so they don’t freeze,
In heat it slows the lipids down limiting their traveling,
Cholesterol: it keeps membranes from unraveling

Membrane carbohydrates work as markers or signs
So your immune system knows which flag your cells are flyin’
The blood types AB, O, and B and A
Are about the carbohydrates on red blood cell membranes.


7 comments for “Membranes! (Music Video)

  1. Maureen Honey
    December 4, 2014 at 4:23 am

    Hi Mr. Wolkenfeld,
    Thank you again for your videos. I am taking a college level Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology class. I watched all of your videos to keep up and I even passed a Biology prerequisite test, without taking Biology, just from watching your videos! Feel free to create some more Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology videos, I need to get through those classes too. By the way, looking good Mr. W. Thank you so much for your brilliant help! Have you seen any of the Khan Academy classes? They are wonderful but are lacking your music talent and visual expertise.

    • Mr. W
      December 4, 2014 at 5:13 am

      Thanks, Maureen. I really appreciate your support.
      Khan academy is an awesome resource, and one of my inspirations for doing this work.
      Please tell your teachers and friends about my website and channel!
      Good luck!
      Mr. W

  2. December 2, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    This is a great source for learning in fact even better thank khan academy or crash course because it is so easy to get hooked on to music lyrics, especially these types. I have a quiz on membranes tomorrow and I feel way more confident about it after listening to this.

    Mr.W – You were spitting fire in this song (:

    • Mr. W
      December 2, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks, Ishaan!
      Mr. W

  3. venus
    September 27, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    this is actually brilliant now all i have to do is learn the cell and membrane song before my test. thanks alllooottttttt

    • Mr. W
      September 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Good for you, Venus! Good luck on your test. Please spread the word about sciencemusicvideos to your friends and teachers!
      Mr W.

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