Skip Navigation
Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions About   Site Map   Contact Us
Home A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®
0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q-R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y-Z

Cell membrane


  • cytoplasmic membrane
  • plasmalemma
  • plasma membrane


The membrane surrounding a cell that separates the cell from its external environment. It consists of a phospholipid bilayer and associated proteins.

Definition from: MeSH via Unified Medical Language SystemThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. at the National Library of Medicine

The cell membrane, also called the plasma membrane, is found in all cells and separates the interior of the cell from the outside environment. The cell membrane consists of a lipid bilayer that is semipermeable. The cell membrane regulates the transport of materials entering and exiting the cell.

Definition from: Talking Glossary of Genetic TermsThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. from the National Human Genome Research Institute

Related discussion in the Handbook

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

Published: November 23, 2015