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Facilitated diffusion


1. A process of passive transport (as opposed to active transport), with this passive transport aided by integral membrane proteins. It is the spontaneous passage of molecules or ions across a biological membrane passing through specific transmembrane integral proteins. The facilitated diffusion may occur either across biological membranes or through aqueous compartments of an organism. Polar molecules and charged ions are dissolved in water but they cannot diffuse freely across the plasma membrane due to the hydrophobic nature of the fatty acid tails of phospholipids that make up the lipid bilayers. (wikipedia.org)

2. Transport of substances across a biological membrane from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration by means of a carrier molecule. Since the substances move along the direction of their concentration gradients, energy is not required. (biology-online.org)

Syn: facilitated transport, passive-mediated transport

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