Biology 1o1

What makes up Cells?

Cells are made up by many different parts. 

  • Plasma Membrane - The membrane enclosing a cell is made up of two lipid layers called a "bilipid" membrane. The lipids that are present in the plasma membrane are called "phospholipids."
  • Channels/Pores- A channel in the cell's plasma membrane. These control the movement of molecules, including food and water, into/out of the cell. 
  • Nucleus- The nucleus is the control center of the cell. It is the largest organelle in the cell and it contains the DNA of the cell.
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)- It is a network of membranes throughout the cytoplasm of the cell. There are two types of ER, the smooth ER and rough ER.
  • Ribosomes- Organelles that help in the synthesis of proteins. Ribosomes are made up of two parts, called subunits.
  • Golgi complex- It is the organelle in the cell that is responsible for sorting and correctly shipping the proteins produced in the ER. 
  • Mitochondrion- This is the cell’s powerhouse. This organelle packages the energy from the food you eat into ATP molecules.
  • Vesicles- This term literally means "small vessel". This organelle helps store and transport products produced by the cell.
  • Cytoplasm- A term for all the contents of a cell other than the nucleus. Even though the cartoon drawings do not look like it, the cytoplasm contains mostly water.
  • Vacuole- Plant cells have what looks like a very large empty space in the middle. This space is called the vacuole.
  • Cell wall and Plasmodesmata- In addition to cell membranes, plants have cell walls. Cell walls provide protection and support for plants. In land plants, the cell wall is mostly made of cellulose.
  • Peroxisomes- These collect and safely break down chemicals that are toxic to the cell.
  • Cytoskeleton- Made up of filaments and tubules, it helps shape and support the cell. It also helps things move around in the cell. For artistic purposes, the cytoskeleton is shown in just one place when in reality it is found throughout the entire cell. 
  • Lysosomes- Created by the Golgi apparatus, these help break down large molecules into smaller pieces that the cell can use.
  • Centrioles- These are found only in animal cells and come into action when the cells divide, helping with the organization of chromosomes.
  • Chloroplast- These are foud only in plant cells. This is the organelle in which photosynthesis takes place. In this organelle the light energy of the sun is converted into chemical energy. 


Cell Structure Video