Cell Membrane Essay

Topics: Cell membrane, Protein, Lipid bilayer Pages: 2 (457 words) Published: November 4, 2012
All living cells have a cell membrane and it is probably the most important organelle of a cell. The cell membrane is composed of a phospholipid, proteins and carbohydrates. The phospholipids are arranged in a bilayer with the hydrophilic ends facing out and the hydrophobic ends facing the inside of bilayer. Membranes can contain phospholipids with different fatty acids which affects the strength and flexibility of the membrane. There are two different proteins in cell membranes. One is a protein that spans from one side of the membrane to the other, known as an integral protein. Integral proteins are usually involved in transport of different materials across the membrane. The other type of protein is a peripheral protein which is attached on one side of the membrane. Peripheral proteins on the inside of the cell membrane usually are attached to the cytoskeleton and help maintain the shape of the cell or they may be enzymes. The peripheral proteins on the outside of the cell usually act as receptors with a binding site where specific chemicals can bind. The carbohydrates of the cell membrane are found on the outer surface and attach to either the proteins or sometimes the phospholipids.

Animal cells also contain cholesterol which stabilize the cell and act as a temperature buffer. Heating of the cell membrane can destroy it. Lipids become more fluid with heat which can make the phospholipid bilayer structure change. Also high heat can denature the proteins in the cell membrane. At low temperatures the cell membrane can solidify. The cholesterol act as a temperature buffer and helps maintain homeostasis. At warm temperatures it makes the membrane less fluid. At low temperatures it prevents the close packing of phospholipids, preventing solidification.

Many different materials enter and exit the cell constantly. There are a few main types of transport in a cell. The first is lipid diffusion which is when substances pass directly through the phospholipid...
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