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What is the Cell Membrane Simplified

What are Cell Membranes

Cell membranes are an essential characteristic of all living cells. The plasma membrane is the structure that separates the internal contents of a cell from its external environment.

Membranes regulate the traffic of substances into and out of the cell and its organelles.

Membrane Structure

The framework  of the membrane is the phospholipid bilayer, which consists of two layers of lipids. The most available lipids found in membranes are the phospholipids.



Phospholipids are amphipathic molecules, meaning they have hydrophobic (water-fearing) regions and hydrophilic (water-loving) regions.

The hydrophobic tails of the membrane form the interior of the membrane (referred to as fatty acyl tails).

The hydrophilic head groups are on the surface.


The structure of cellular membranes enables  them to compartmentalize the cell while selectively importing and exporting vital substances.

The two primary components are lipids, which form the basic matrix of a membrane, and proteins, which are embedded in the membrane or loosely attached to its surface. A third component is carbohydrate, which may be attached to membrane lipids and proteins.


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