As discrete units of life all living cells are separated from each other and from their external environment by an extremely delicate (75 A to 100 a= 0.00075 to 0.001 thick ) covering membrane invisible under light microscope. The covering is called cell membrane, plasma membrane, cytoplasmic membrane or plasmalemma . Its presence was presumably visualized by Naegeli and Cramer(1855) and confirmed by E. Overton(1899) who believed that it was a double layer of lipid molecules .Since then, scientists have been making efforts to properly elucidate the molecular structure of this membrane. Gorter and gremdel (1925) postulated that it was a bimolecular lipid layer formed mainly of polar lipids with the double hydrophobic tails of their molecules in both layers directed towards the interior of the membrane, and their polar , hydrophilic heads, at the two surfaces of the membrane.
Danielli and Davson (1935) ascertained that the plasma membrane contains a good amount of globular proteins in addition to the lipids. They postulated a lipid protein bilaye r moderl of membrane structure with hydrated globular protein molecules adsorbed upon both exposed surfaces of the original biomolecular lipid layer, forming a protein lipid sandwich Later (1954) Danielli further proposed that there were places where lipid bilayer is perforated by pores lined by protein molecules, only polar solute molecules and ions can pass through these pores.
Using electron microscopy Robertson (1959) observed that the plasma membrane has a characteristic trilaminar appearance in a dark light dark or railway track pattern . Each dark line consists of a pleated sheet of protein on surface and sheet of polar heads of lipid molecules, while the light central line consists of a bilayer of nonpolar fatty acid of lipid molecules Robertson .called the trilaminar structure a unit membrane which is continuous with certain membranous structures present inside a cell.