Categories: Anatomy; cellular biology; physiology
All cells, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, are surrounded by a membrane called the plasma membrane, an essential barrier between the external environment and the cytoplasm inside the cell. In addition, eukaryotic cells contain other membranes that arepart of a variety of organelles, such as nuclei, plastids, mitochondria, vacuoles, Golgi bodies, and the endomembrane system.
Compartmentalization by membranes allows the function of competing processes, such as respiration and photosynthesis, in separate areas of the same cell. In addition, membranes control which molecules enter or leave the cell and the various organelles. Finally, proteins associated with membranes are responsible for extracellular interactions and the energy transactions involved in photosynthesis and respiration.
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