The plasma membrane is a fluid mosaic. Phospholipids form the basic structure of a cell membrane, called the lipid bilayer. Scattered in the lipid bilayer are cholesterol molecules, which help to keep the membrane fluid consistent. Membrane proteins are important for transporting substances across the cell membrane.
The primary function of the plasma membrane is to protect the cell from its surroundings. Composed of a phospholipid bilayer with embedded proteins, the plasma membrane is selectively permeable to ions and organic molecules and regulates the movement of substances in and out of cells.