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Cell Biology

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Nucleus-spherical body containing many organelles, including the nucleolus. The nucleus controls many of the functions of the cell (by controlling protein synthesis) and contains DNA (in chromosomes). The nucleus is surrounded by the nuclear membrane.

Central vacuole-a large, membrane-bound space within a plant cell that is filled with fluid. Most plant cells have a single vacuole that takes up much of the cell. It helps maintain the shape of the cell.

Watch this video to learn more about the plant cell's organelles!


Cell wall- a thick, rigid membrane that surrounds a plant cell. This layer of cellulose fiber gives the cell most of its support and structure. The cell wall also bonds with other cell walls to form the structure of the plant.

Chloroplast- an elongated or disc-shaped organelle containing chlorophyll. Photosynthesis (in which energy from sunlight is converted into chemical energy - food) takes place in the chloroplasts.

Golgi apparatus-It is another packaging organelle like the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).

Mitochondria-They are organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy rich molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration.   Mitochondrial cristae are folds of the mitochondrial inner membrane that provide an increase in the surface area. This allows a greater space for processes that happen across this membrane.

Plasma membrane- The basic function of the cell membrane is to protect the cell from its surroundings. It consists of the phospholipid bilayer with embedded proteins.

Ribosome-small organelles composed of RNA-rich cytoplasmic granules that are sites of protein synthesis.

Rough endoplasmic reticulum-a vast system of interconnected, membranous, unfolded and convoluted sacks that are located in the cell's cytoplasm (the ER is continuous with the outer nuclear membrane). Rough ER is covered with ribosomes that give it a rough appearance. Rough ER transport materials through the cell and produces proteins in sacks called cisternae (which are sent to the Golgi body, or inserted into the cell membrane).

Smooth endoplasmic reticulum-a vast system of interconnected, membranous, unfolded and convoluted tubes that are located in the cell's cytoplasm (the ER is continuous with the outer nuclear membrane). The space within the ER is called the ER lumen. Smooth ER transport materials through the cell. It contains enzymes and produces and digests lipids (fats) and membrane proteins; smooth ER buds off from rough ER, moving the newly-made proteins and lipids to the Golgi body and membranes.

Cytoplasm is a thick solution and it is enclosed by the cell membrane. Mainly composed of water, salts, and proteins. In eukaryotic cells, the cytoplasm includes all of the material inside the cell and outside of the nucleus.

Nucleolus- primary function is to assemble ribosomes.

Nuclear Membrane- This is where genetic material, or DNA, is stored. Surrounding every nucleus is a double-layered membrane called the nuclear membrane or nuclear envelope.

Nuclear pores

Cytoskeleton- The three parts of the cytoskeleton are microtubles, microfilaments, intermediate filaments.Microtubles- are conveyer belts inside the cells. They move vesicles, granules, organelles like mitochondria, and chromosomes via special attachment proteins.Microfilaments- are thin fibers that function as cooperative members of the cytoskeleton. Single fibers usually group together to perform various functions. They form a thin skeleton just inside plasma membranes called the cortical cytoskeleton to provide stiffness, structure, and shape to the membrane.Intermediate filaments- provide mechanical support for the plasma membrane where it comes into contact with other cells or with the extracellular matrix. Unlike microfilaments and microtubules, intermediate filamentsdo not participate in cell motility.

Vesicles- are cellular organelles that are composed of a lipid bilayer. You can think of vesicles as cellular envelopes that are used to transport materials from one place to another. Vesicles also function in metabolism and enzyme storage as well. This diagram shows the overall structure of a simple vesicle.


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