Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Genetics in Medicine - Part 1 » Eukaryotic Cell - Physical Characteristics, Membranes, Proteins And Membrane Transport, Signal Transduction, Metabolism, Mitochondrion, Chloroplast

Eukaryotic Cell - Membranes

molecules pass acids phospholipid

Eukaryotic cells include large amounts of membrane, which enclose the cell itself and surround each of the organelles. The membrane surrounding the cell is termed the plasma membrane. Membranes are bilayered structures, made of two layers of phospholipid molecules, built from phosphoric acids and fatty acids. One end of the phospholipid molecules (the exterior head) is hydrophilic, and it is oriented to the outer side of the membrane; the other end (the interior tails) are hydrophobic. Despite this, water molecules can pass freely through the bilayer, as can oxygen and carbon dioxide. Ions such as sodium or chloride cannot pass through, however, and neither can larger molecules such as sugars or amino acids. Instead, these materials must pass through the membrane via specialized proteins. This selective permeability allows the membrane to control the flow of materials in and out of the cell and its organelles.

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