Q:

Why is the cell membrane important?

A:

Quick Answer

Cell membranes contain and protect the contents of the cell. They are active in signaling other cells, and proteins embedded in their matrix regulate the cell's chemistry by selectively absorbing and secreting chemicals. Many single-celled organisms, such as amoebae, use their flexible membranes for locomotion and food gathering.

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Full Answer

Cell membranes are extremely flexible structures that play many roles in the life of a cell. They are the only structures found in all cells, regardless of species, and serve as the attachment point for many intracellular structures such as cell walls and cytoskeletons, as well as extracellular structures such as cilia.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference between the cell wall and the cell membrane?

    A:

    Unlike the cell membrane, the cell wall is not common to all types of cells. A protective layer that surrounds the cell membrane, one of its main functions is to prevent over-expansion of a cell.

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  • Q:

    What is the basic structure of a cell membrane?

    A:

    Cell membranes are, at their most basic, composed of a phospholipid bilayer with some surface proteins embedded around the surface. Plasma membranes contain phospholipids, cholesterol, proteins and carbohydrates that are arrayed in regular, repeating rows to form a highly plastic surface for the cell.

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  • Q:

    Why is the cell membrane said to be selectively permeable?

    A:

    The cell membrane is said to be selectively permeable because it lets certain substances pass through while restricting the passage of others. The actual structure of the cell membrane allows free passage or restricts movement of substances across the membrane. Three ways in which the cell membrane controls the movement of substances is simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion and active transport.

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  • Q:

    Where is the cell membrane located?

    A:

    The cell membrane is a semipermeable lipid bilayer that surrounds the cytoplasm of all cells. In animal cells, it is the outermost layer of the cell. In plants, fungi and some bacteria, a cell wall surrounds the cell membrane to form the cell's outermost layer.

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