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The cell membrane structure-Fluid mosaic model.

  • Essay length: 548 words
  • Submitted: 14/10/2003
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AS and A Level Molecules & Cells

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The cell membrane structure-Fluid mosaic model

The cell membrane separates a watery cytoplasm from a watery external environment also known as ECF. The phospholipids are arranged in a double layer (lipid layer) with the hydrophilic heads facing outward (cytoplasm or ECF) and the hydrophilic tails turned in towards each other. The unsaturated fatty acids are not bonded to each other and form a fluid.

Fluid Mosaic model. The term "fluid" is used because the phospholipid molecules and proteins that make up the membrane are free to drift around in fluid motion. The term "mosaic" is used to describe the position of the protein molecules. The molecules are placed randomly and there is no set pattern.

Embedded within the lipid bilayer are different proteins (hydrophobic parts interact with the hydrophobic tails of the phospholipids). The hydrophilic parts of the proteins protrude either in to the cytoplasm or into the ECF. Some of the proteins are anchored in place while other proteins move about within the bilayer.

Various organelles within the cytoplasm are also bounded by membranes similar in structure to the cell membrane except for specific combinations of lipids and proteins depending on the particular

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