The most important function of phospholipids is to form the phospholipid bilayer of the plasma membrane. In this bilayer, phospholipids are arranged so that their hydrophobic heads are pointing outwards and their hydrophilic tails are pointing inwards. This arrangement allows plasma membranes to be selectively permeable to solutes such as proteins, ions and water.Know More
Phospholipids are composed of two fatty acid chains and one glycerol compound. The fatty acid chains act as the tails of the phospholipid while glycerol acts as a head. The glycerol molecule also attaches to a phosphate group. The phosphate group causes the glycerol head to become hydrophilic. The ability for phospholipids to be both hydrophobic and hydrophilic causes the compounds to be amphipathic.
In biological system, phospholipids allow cell membranes to be fluid. Their unique characteristics allow the cell membrane to take different shapes and expand and shrink when necessary.
Phospholipids can also be used as signal transducers between cells. They can be split to produce products that function as second messengers in cellular systems. As a second messenger, phospholipids can signal for leukocytes to migrate to a site of infection, and they can also inhibit neurons. Phospholipids can also be found in plants and can help produce certain plant hormones.Learn more about Cells
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.Full Answer >
According to science writer Clare Smith for SeattlePi, the cell membrane is kept from collapsing by its phospholipid bilayer, maintenance of the correct temperature, a cytoskeleton and cell junctions. These are necessary because the cell membrane is one of the most crucial components of a cell.Full Answer >
Phospholipids are found in the cell membranes of organisms, where they form the lipid bilayer surrounding the cell. They also make up most of the structure of biological membranes in general.Full Answer >
One of the main features of phospholipids is it's bi-layer organization, upon which the rest of the membrane is built. The structures in the phospholipids are the building blocks for the parts of the membrane that this type of lipid helps to create. They have a very distinct pattern because the fatty acid chains in the dual layers both point towards the membrane making it a key indicator of what type of lipid it is.Full Answer >