Plasma Membrane

Ivy D, Kiley W, Justin D, and Victoria C

Plasma Membrane Structure and Function

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The plasma membrane has a very complex structure. This structure is known as “The Fluid Mosaic Model” because everything looks like a mosaic. This “Fluid mosaic model” consists of a lot of different parts, such as: glycoproteins and glycolipids, carbohydrate chains, cholesterol, hydrophilic heads and tails, and a phospholipid bilayer.

The Glycoproteins and glycolipids have a similar function. They both have lipids (otherwise known as fats) or proteins that carry carbohydrate chains. Speaking of which, carbohydrate chains make cell to cell recognition possible like fingerprints for cells to know they are in contact with one another. It acts like receptors for chemical messengers also.

There are six types of proteins that help with cellular transportation. These are channel, carrier, cell recognition, receptor, enzymatic, and junction.

Channel proteins have channels in them that molecules pass through to go in or out of a cell, much like the hallways in a school.

Carrier proteins are more specific, considering they combine with a molecule to help the particles get across the membrane, much like a door.

Cell recognition proteins are glycoproteins that recognize specific cells, much like a fingerprint scanner.

Junction proteins form various junctions between cells, much like glue.

Enzymatic proteins carry out metabolic reactions for your cells, such as breaking down your food, so it is easily digested. This could be compared to a knife, which breaks down your food so it can be digested easier.

The last protein is the receptor protein, which has a binding site for a specific molecule, much like a lock that requires a specific key.

A lot of the parts work together the make things function. The cholesterol acts as a steroid to support the membrane. The phospholipid bilayer incases all of the parts of the plasma membrane and is also the outermost part. The phospholipid bilayer is a wall to keep things in or out of the cell. The bilayer is made up of two parts: hydrophilic heads and hydrophobic tails. The heads are on the outside and are attracted to water to absorb or protect the cell. The inner layer or the tails are not attracted to water. They repel it. The structure of the plasma membrane all works together to make a successful protector of the cell.

Cell Transport

Passive Cell Transport
Active Cell Transport