cell membrane

plural cell membranes

Definition of cell membrane

: a membrane of a cell especially : a semipermeable limiting layer of cell protoplasm consisting of a fluid phospholipid bilayer with intercalated proteins : plasma membrane Despite being much maligned in the popular press, cholesterol plays a crucial role in organizing cell membranes and controlling their physical properties. — Amanda Yarnell … a cascade of reactions culminating in the transfer of a phosphate group to a protein complex that carries ions across the cell membrane. Science News

Examples of cell membrane in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Zinc is required for cell membrane repair, cell growth, and the maintenance of healthy skin. Cynthia Sass, Rd, Health.com, "Zinc Supplements: What to Know if You're Thinking of Taking Them," 24 June 2020 Recent genome-sequencing studies support this idea, Hardy says: the majority of genes identified as risk factors in late-onset Alzheimer's involve microglial metabolism; others encode proteins that help to build and repair cell membranes. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "A Harder Look at Alzheimer’s Causes and Treatments," 30 Apr. 2020 When exposed to such caustic substances, your cell membranes rupture and your cells immediately die. Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus and disinfectant: Why you shouldn’t ingest it," 24 Apr. 2020 Instead, the complex of virus and receptors stays on the outside of the cell membrane. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "COVID-19: the biology of an effective therapy," 20 Mar. 2020 According to Kong, nano-diamonds can be treated to carry a small electrical charge which, when in contact with a virus, denatures the cell membrane and kills the virus on contact. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "With nano-diamonds and salt, researchers race to design a face mask that kills the coronavirus," 29 Mar. 2020 After the spike protein binds to the human cell receptor, the viral membrane fuses with the human cell membrane, allowing the genome of the virus to enter human cells and begin infection. Yasemin Saplakoglu, Scientific American, "Researchers Map Structure of Coronavirus “Spike” Protein," 21 Feb. 2020 After all, according to the dominant paradigm of drug biology and chemistry, RNA and DNA would not naturally cross cell membranes. Scientific American, "The Power of Spheres," 25 Dec. 2019 Coronavirus particles have spiked proteins sticking out from their surfaces, and these spikes hook onto cell membranes, allowing the virus’s genetic material to enter the human cell. Pam Belluck, New York Times, "What Does the Coronavirus Do to the Body?," 10 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cell membrane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cell membrane

1840, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for cell membrane

Time Traveler

The first known use of cell membrane was in 1840

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Statistics for cell membrane

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cell membrane.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cell%20membrane. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for cell membrane

cell membrane


Kids Definition of cell membrane

: the thin outside layer that surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell and controls the movement of materials into and out of the cell

cell membrane


Medical Definition of cell membrane

: a membrane of a cell especially : plasma membrane

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