Phospholipid bilayer membrane

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The phospholipid bilayer is composed of 2 layers. Phospholipids form the bilayer and they are constructed from two hydrophobic tails and a hydrophilic head which is polar. These are the most common membrane lipids found in the phospholipid bilayer membrane. This amphiphillic nature of the phospholipids cause them to form a bilayer in water. In water, the hydrophillic heads will dissolve as the charged or uncharged polar heads can form hydrogen bonds or electrostatic interactions. Hydrophobic fatty acid tails will not dissolve in water as thier non polar and cannot form these bonds[1].

Embedded in the phospholipid bilayer are integral membrane proteins which bond with the fatty acyl tails of the bilayer[2].


  1. Alberts et al. (2008), Molecular Biology of the Cell, 5th Edition, New York: Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group.
  2. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology (2000). 4th edition.
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