Cell membrane

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The cell membrane is a biological membrane that separates the interior of all cells from the outside environment.[1]. The cell membrane is selectively-permeable to ions and organic molecules and controls the movement of substances in and out of cells.[2]. It consists of the phospholipid bilayer with embedded proteins. Cell membranes are involved in a variety of cellular processes such as cell adhesion, ion conductivity and cell signaling and serve as the attachment surface for the extracellular glycocalyx and cell wall and intracellular cytoskeleton.

Contents

Function

The cell membrane surrounds the protoplasm of a cell and, in animal cells, physically separates the intracellular components from the extracellular environment. Fungi, bacteria and plants also have the cell wall which provides a mechanical support for the cell and precludes passage of the larger molecules. The cell membrane also plays a role in anchoring the cytoskeleton to provide shape to the cell, and in attaching to the extracellular matrix and other cells to help group cells together to form tissues. The barrier is differentially permeable and able to regulate what enters and exits the cell, thus facilitating the transport of materials needed for survival. The movement of substances across the membrane can be either passive, occurring without the input of cellular energy, or active, requiring the cell to expend energy in moving it. The membrane also maintains the cell potential.

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