What Is the Function of the Nuclear Membrane in an Animal Cell?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 25, 2020 4:04:45 PM ET

The function of the nuclear membrane in an animal cell is to hold the DNA inside the nucleus in order to protect it from surrounding substances. The nuclear membrane also regulates which substances can enter or exit the nucleus.

The nuclear membrane, also known as the nuclear envelope, surrounds every nucleus found in animal cells. It separates the fluid inside the nucleus of a cell from the material outside. The nuclear membrane has the function of protecting the DNA inside the nucleus from surrounding exterior substances. It does this by regulating what substances can enter or leave the nucleus, according to Education Portal.

The nuclear membrane features a double layer comprising a continuous outer membrane and an inner membrane separated by perinuclear space. Both the outer and inner membranes are made of phospholipids, which are lipids containing a phosphate group in their molecules.

Substances that need to pass into or out of the nucleus, such as proteins, ions or very small molecules, can only do so through nuclear pores, which are holes in the nuclear membrane. In order for larger molecules to cross the nuclear membrane, they must have appropriates tags that the proteins lining the pores are able to recognize.