AAT Bioquest

Is the cell membrane hydrophobic?

Posted November 21, 2022


The cell membrane is amphipathic – it has a hydrophobic region and a hydrophilic region.  

The main fabric of the cell membrane is made up of phospholipid molecules arranged in a bilayer in which the hydrophilic heads are attached together and are in contact with the aqueous cytoplasm and the extracellular fluid, while the hydrophobic tails lie shielded in between, with no contact to either the cytoplasm or the extracellular fluid. Hence, both exposed surfaces of the cell membrane are hydrophilic and only the interior of the membrane, between the two surfaces, is hydrophobic.  

Additional resources

Tuning Electrostatic and Hydrophobic Surfaces of Aromatic Rings to Enhance Membrane Association and Cell Uptake of Peptides

Plasma Membrane

Cell Navigator® Cell Plasma Membrane Staining Kit *Green Fluorescence*