Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Donald Y. Shirachi

First Committee Member

Marvin H. Malone

Second Committee Member

Herbert Stanton

Third Committee Member

O. M. Roscoe


From the standpoint of physiologists, emphasis has been placed on viewing the chemical nature of the membrane as an operational barrier to the free diffusion of ions. This tends to explain the fact that the ionic composition of the cytoplasm of the animal cell differs from its external fluid environment.

It is well know that where sodium is the principal cation of the extracellular fluid, potassium has such a role inside the cell. Since there appears to be differential distribution of these ions across the cell membrane, this infers a concentration gradient of these ions. This differential distribution is important for certain life processes, for example, the propagation of nervous impulses mainly is dependent on the changes in concentration of sodium and potassium ions on both sides of the axonal membrane. Much effort has been put into elucidating the mechanism which cells maintain and change such concentration gradients. The enzyme system investigated in this study, namely, the sodium-activated adenosine triphosphatase, might be involved in maintaining this ionic gradient.<\p>