Cell membrane components. Animation showing the main components of a typical animal cell membrane, which consists of a phospholipid bilayer with proteins embedded in it. The four main phospholipids are shown first, these are phosphatidylcholine, sphingomyelin, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylserine. The phospholipids are arranged so that the hydrophobic lipid tails are in the centre and the hydrophilic phosphate groups are on either side. The different phospholipds have different distributions throughout the membrane. Also embedded in the membrane are cholesterol molecules, which add strength and flexibility to the membrane. There are also numerous proteins, including integral proteins, which are embedded in the membrane, and peripheral proteins, which are attached to the exterior of the membrane.
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