Cell membranes and soap bubbles...you think I'm kidding don't you?

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All cells are surrounded by a cell or plasma membrane. In addition, many of the organelles(2) in eukaryotic cells are surrounded by plasma membranes and these organelles in turn may divided into compartments that carry out particular functions.

Our current model of the cell membrane is called the Fluid Mosaic Model because the membrane consists of a dynamic fluid like layer of phospholipids(2) in which are embedded proteins(2) that carry out important functions for the cell.

So a good way to think of a cell membrane is not like a piece of plastic wrap.....wrong image.....but rather as the film of a soap bubble. Go get some bubble soap, a wand and blow a large bubble and watch the colors swirl. That's the image you need!

This clickable map shows some of the main structures making up the plasma membrane and points you to a brief overview of each.
 

pgd 7/15/99