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Cell membrane

The cell membrane is a fluid skin of lipids and protein that surrounds and protects the cell/ and
controls what can enter and exit. Dispersed across the cell membrane are proteins that allow the cell to
import nutrients, export wastes, and to communicate with other cells.

Phospholipid bilayer

Cellular membranes are made of a double layer of lipids/ or lipid bilayer/ in which parallel layers
of lipids face away from each other. In this case, the lipids or phospholipids with two fatty acid chains or
tails/ attach to a phosphate containing head group, hence the term phospholipid. The head groups are
hydrophilic, meaning water loving. They form weak bonds with the surrounding water. The fatty acid
chains are hydrophobic, meaning water fearing. They do not dissolve in water and are actually excluded
from water because of the weak attraction of water molecules for each other. The hydrophilic and
hydrophobic characteristics of the phospholipids keep the membrane intact without requiring any energy
on the part of the cell. The head and tail groups in membrane lipids are the right size to line up side by
side/ forming the sheets of membrane that surround the cell and divide its interior into compartments.

Channel protein

Protein channels help in the transportation of substances in and out of the cell. These protein
channels are embedded in the cell membrane to help facilitate the movement of larger substances that
are not capable of just simple diffusion in and out of the cell.

Peripheral protein

Peripheral proteins don't cross the cell membrane. They kind of hang out on either side of cell
membranes. They are loosely attached to other proteins or the membrane itself through hydrogen bonds.
They're called 'peripheral proteins' because they sit on the outside of the membrane and do not integrate
into the membrane.

Integral protein

Integral membrane proteins penetrate the lipid bilayer. These glycoproteins express carbohydrate
residues on the outside surface of the cell. They contribute negative charge to the cell surface, function
as receptors or transport proteins, and carry RBC antigens.

Globular protein

Globular proteins act as enzymes and catalyze organic reactions. They also transmit messages to
regulate biological processes. Globular Proteins transport molecules through the membrane, and act as
regulators within the membrane.


Glycoproteins are proteins that have sugar molecules attached to them. The cell uses
glycoproteins embedded in the cell membrane to get the oligosaccharides on the outside of the cell.
Embedded proteins have a portion of the protein outside the cell, which is decorated with different
oligosaccharides, depending on what message is being sent.

Glycolipids appear where carbohydrate chains have a connection to phospholipids that appear on
the cell membrane's exoplasmic surface. The carbohydrates appear on the exterior surface of the cell
membrane for all eukaryotic cells.

Gycolipids are complex compound, in which carbohydrates are attached with lipid
These compounds are present over the cell membrane for the recognition purposes.

Cholesterol gives the cell membrane extra support. Cholesterol is more rigid than some of the
other lipids in the membrane. This extra rigidity makes the cell membrane stronger and makes it harder
for small molecules to pass through the membrane. The presence of cholesterol allows the cell membrane
to be strong enough to hold the cell together and to serve as an effective barrier to ions.