General Structure And Functions Of The Plasma Membrane Essay

1338 Words Nov 24th, 2014 6 Pages
General structure and functions of the plasma membrane

The plasma membrane acts as the partition between the cell and its exterior environment. It is made out of a bilayer of phospholipids with proteins and cholesterol embedded. The phosphatidylcholine is the most common phospholipid in cell membranes and is made out of a glycerol backbone to which a choline-phosphate group is attached to and two fatty acid tails (Alberts, 2009). The bilayer also contains cholesterol to maintain the fluidity of the membrane, which can also be enhanced or reduced depending on the amount of unsaturated fatty acid chains. The double carbon bond causes a kink in the chain which increases the fluidity of the membrane (Brooker, 2013). The proteins embedded to the plasma membrane can be categorised into several categories depending how they are attached to the plasma membrane: transmembrane, peripheral, monolayer-associated or lipid anchored. These proteins regulate most of the membrane’s functions including the main,which is the control of entry and exit of different molecules, ions and water, however the plasma membrane has several other roles contributing to the coordination of an organism. For example, transmembrane proteins have a few functions, which include the attachment to the cytoskeletal filaments of the cell, which restricts movement of those proteins. This is particularly important for the maintenance of the protein structure of an erythrocyte. The cytoskeleton of the red blood cell…

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