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This illustration shows a phospholipid bilayer with proteins and cholesterol embedded in it. Integral membrane proteins span the entire membrane. Protein channels are integral membrane proteins with a central pore through which molecules can pass. Peripheral proteins are associated with the phospholipid head groups on one side of the membrane only. A glycoprotein is shown with the protein portion of the molecule embedded in the membrane and the carbohydrate portion jutting out from the membrane. A glycolipid is also shown with the lipid portion embedded in the membrane and the carbohydrate portion jutting out of the membrane.
The fluid mosaic model of the plasma membrane describes the plasma membrane as a fluid combination of phospholipids, cholesterol, and proteins. Carbohydrates attached to lipids (glycolipids) and to proteins (glycoproteins) extend from the outward-facing surface of the membrane.

The principal components of a plasma membrane are lipids (phospholipids and cholesterol), proteins, and carbohydrates attached to some of the lipids and some of the proteins. A phospholipid is a molecule consisting of glycerol, two fatty acids, and a phosphate-linked head group. Cholesterol, another lipid composed of four fused carbon rings, is found alongside the phospholipids in the core of the membrane. The proportions of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates in the plasma membrane vary with cell type, but for a typical human cell, protein accounts for about 50 percent of the composition by mass, lipids (of all types) account for about 40 percent of the composition by mass, with the remaining 10 percent of the composition by mass being carbohydrates. However, the concentration of proteins and lipids varies with different cell membranes. For example, myelin, an outgrowth of the membrane of specialized cells that insulates the axons of the peripheral nerves, contains only 18 percent protein and 76 percent lipid. The mitochondrial inner membrane contains 76 percent protein and only 24 percent lipid. The plasma membrane of human red blood cells is 30 percent lipid. Carbohydrates are present only on the exterior surface of the plasma membrane and are attached to proteins, forming glycoproteins , or attached to lipids, forming glycolipids .


The main fabric of the membrane is composed of amphiphilic, phospholipid molecules. The hydrophilic    or “water-loving” areas of these molecules (which look like a collection of balls in an artist’s rendition of the model) ( [link] ) are in contact with the aqueous fluid both inside and outside the cell. Hydrophobic , or water-hating molecules, tend to be non-polar. They interact with other non-polar molecules in chemical reactions, but generally do not interact with polar molecules. When placed in water, hydrophobic molecules tend to form a ball or cluster. The hydrophilic regions of the phospholipids tend to form hydrogen bonds with water and other polar molecules on both the exterior and interior of the cell. Thus, the membrane surfaces that face the interior and exterior of the cell are hydrophilic. In contrast, the interior of the cell membrane is hydrophobic and will not interact with water. Therefore, phospholipids form an excellent two-layer cell membrane that separates fluid within the cell from the fluid outside of the cell.

A phospholipid molecule ( [link] ) consists of a three-carbon glycerol backbone with two fatty acid molecules attached to carbons 1 and 2, and a phosphate-containing group attached to the third carbon. This arrangement gives the overall molecule an area described as its head (the phosphate-containing group), which has a polar character or negative charge, and an area called the tail (the fatty acids), which has no charge. The head can form hydrogen bonds, but the tail cannot. A molecule with this arrangement of a positively or negatively charged area and an uncharged, or non-polar, area is referred to as amphiphilic    or “dual-loving.”

Questions & Answers

what is cell
Prince Reply
synthesis of 1 molecules of glucose requires
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what is the chemical composition of water
Abigail Reply
Oh, how's is it going..
Brian Reply
not too good
Any one else taking Bio 1406 with Stephanie Martin?
where is it ?
am here Veronica
Part of compound microscope
Bakish Reply
a. body b. stage clip c. adjacent knob d. arm e. eye piece
How do u know when you want to urinate
Akpo Reply
how do you know when you want to urinate
I don't know please explain
As the bladder fills up .. the signals are sent to the brain specifying that its filling up and should be emptied and the fuller it gets, the more signals/ alerts are sent to brain ...leading to the urge to urinate .... to go pee
OK thank you
I want the this ecologycal terms
Catherine Reply
what are enzymes
Alvin Reply
enzymes are organic catalysts which speed the rate of chemical reaction but it's self is not used up in the process
what is fertilization
Ofosu Reply
fusion of male and famele gametes
fusion of female and male gametes.
form zygote to eggs
also known as syngamy
why is water called a polar molecule
Jabari Reply
enzyme that not found in mitochondria
Mukesh Reply
Internal carotid arteries
Anjola Reply
A closed circulatory system is a closed-loop system, in which blood is not free in a cavity. Blood is separate from the bodily interstitial fluid and contained within blood vessels. In this type of system, blood circulates unidirectionally from the heart around the systemic circulatory route, and th
Peter Reply
Is DNA a proteins or genetic materials ?
what is meiosis
Ram Reply
meiosis is a reduction Division in which four hapliod off springs are produced
what is electrochemical gradient?
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