Schematic three dimensional cross section of a cell membrane. There are two major components of this dynamic, fluid, structure: lipids and proteins. A lipid bilayer provides the basic structure within which proteins are free to diffuse. Sugar moieties can be present as part of either proteins (glycoproteins) or lipids (glycolipids). A further important component shown is cholesterol; which intercalates between lipid molecules and affects membrane fluidity/stability.
Essential Biological Functions:
Cell growth and differentiation
Potential Commercial Applications
Drug response monitoring
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The drawing was made by Dana Burns, and can also be found in Scientific American, 1985, 253(4), pages 86-90, in the article The molecules of the cell membrane by M.S. Bretscher.
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