Biology 2

Chapter 7 Section 3Biology Lecture Notes Cells     Anton Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope in the late 1600’s, which first showed that all living things are composed of cells.  Also, he was the first to see microorganisms.       Light microscopes have a limited resolution: magnification of more than about 2000-fold does not improve what you can see.     Electron microscopes use electrons instead of light.  The short wavelength of electrons allows magnifications much better than visible light. The Cell Theory    Use of the microscope for 150 years or so led to these basic beliefs about cells:    1. All living things are made of cells.    2. The cell is the smallest unit of life.    3. All cells arise from pre-existing cells. Basic Cell Organization     All cells contain:   1. cell membrane that keeps the inside and outside separate.   2. DNA-containing region that holds the instructions to run the processes of life.   3. Cytoplasm: a semi-fluid region containing the rest of the cell’s machinery.      Prokaryotes: (bacteria): simple cells with no internal membrane-bound structures.  DNA is in a special region of the cytoplasm.     Eukaryotes: complex cells with internal membranes.  DNA is in a nucleus separated from the cytoplasm by a membrane. Eukaryotic Cells     Eukaryotic cells contain internal membranes and organelles.  An organelle is an internal membrane bound structure that serves some specialized function within the cell.      Organelles we will discuss:   Cell membrane   Nucleus   Cytomembrane system, including endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, vesicles, lysosomes, and peroxisomes   Mitochondria   Cytoskeleton   Special plant organelles: chloroplast, central vacuole, cell wall Cell Membrane     Composed of phospholipids, with a polar (and therefore hydrophilic) head group, and 2 non-polar (hydrophobic) tails.  A bilayer with the polar heads on the outsides and hydrophobic tails inside satisfies all of the molecule. The membrane is a “phospholipid bilayer”.     The membrane also contains cholesterol and various proteins.  The proteins act as sensors, attachment points, cell recognition, or they transport small molecules through the membrane.       Membrane proteins and membrane lipids often have sugars attached to their outside edges.   For example, the differences between the ABO blood groups are due to differences in sugars attached to the outer membranes of red blood cells.    The molecules in the membrane can move about like ships floating on the sea: the membrane is a two-dimensional fluid    In some cells, the membrane proteins are held in fixed positions by a network of proteins just under the membrane, a cytoskeleton.    Only water, a few gasses, and a few other small non-polar molecules can move freely through a pure phospholipid membrane.  Everything else must be transported into the cell by protein channels in the membrane. Nucleus     The nucleus issues instructions to build and maintain the cell, respond to changes in the environment, and to divide into 2 cells.     The cell’s instructions are coded in the DNA, which is the main part of chromosomes.  A chromosome is composed of a single DNA molecule plus the proteins that support it and control it.     Most eukaryotes have a small number of chromosomes: humans have 46 chromosomes, corn plants have 20.  The number is fixed within a species: all humans have 46 chromosomes except for some genetic oddities.     Each instruction in the DNA is called a gene.  The genes issue their instructions, get expressed, as RNA copies.  The RNA instructions move out of the membrane into the cytoplasm, where they are translated into proteins.       The translation of RNA messages into proteins is accomplished by ribosomes, which are structures made of both RNA and protein.     Ribosomes are made in a special part of the nucleus, called the nucleolus.     However, the translation of RNA messages into proteins by the ribosomes occurs in the cytoplasm outside the nucleus.  Both the ribosomes and the messages move out of the nucleus into the cytoplasm to function.     The nucleus is surrounded by a double membrane called the nuclear envelope.  It is studded with pores (made of protein) that let the ribosomes and the RNA messages out to the cytoplasm.   Cytomembrane System     The cytomembrane system is a group of organelles that has 3 basic functions: to manufacture new lipids and membranes, to modify polypeptides into their final proteins, and to package proteins and other molecules for export.     We will talk about 4 organelles as part of this system: the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the Golgi bodies, the lysosomes, and the peroxisomes.  Endoplasmic Reticulum     “Reticulum” means network; the ER is a network of tubules in the cytoplasm, composed of membranes just like the cell membrane.  It provides a membrane channel from the nucleus to the cell membrane.     Two types, connected together: rough ER and smooth ER     Rough ER looks rough because it is studded with ribosomes, the cellular machines that synthesize proteins.  Ribosomes on the rough ER make the proteins that go into the membrane.  Other ribosomes, not attached to the ER, make other proteins.     Smooth ER has no ribosomes.  It is used to synthesize the lipids of the membrane.   It is also used in liver cells to detoxify harmful chemicals in the blood.  Other functions as well.   Golgi Body and Secretion     Proteins that are synthesized in the rough ER get finished in the Golgi body: sugars and phosphates added.     Golgi looks like a series of stacked plates.     Vesicles carry proteins from the ER to the Golgi, and then from the Golgi body to the cell membrane.  Secretion to the outside world occurs by exocytosis: the vesicle fuses with the cell membrane, releasing its contents.     Proteins synthesized into the membrane of the ER end up in the cell membrane by the same mechanism     Basic mechanism of secretion: proteins are synthesized on the rough ER, then transported by vesicles to the Golgi for finishing, then transported in other vesicles to the cell membrane, where they are released from the cell. Lysosomes and Peroxisomes     Lysosomes are intracellular stomachs: they are full of digestive enzymes that operate at low pH.  Vesicles transport materials to the lysosomes, and the lysosomes digest them.  In the process of “programmed cell death”, cells scheduled to die are destroyed from within by their lysosomes.  An example is the tail of a tadpole, which is destroyed to make a tailless frog.     Lysosomal storage diseases are caused by genetic defects.  An example is Gaucher disease, in which certain lipids accumulate inside of lysosomes instead of being broken down.  This leads to interference with bone marrow function: blood and bone problems.     Peroxisomes are membrane-bound sacs used to break down fatty acids and some other molecules.  They generate hydrogen peroxide, a poisonous molecule,  in the process, which is the source of the name peroxisome.  Mitochondria     The mitochondria are the site where most of the cell’s ATP is generated, when organic compounds are broken down to carbon dioxide and water, using oxygen.     All eukaryotes have mitochondria.  The number in a cell depends on that cell’s energy needs.     Mitochondria have their own circular DNA, the same kind found in bacteria.  This and other evidence has led to the theory that mitochondria were once free-living bacteria that developed a mutually beneficial relationship with a primitive eukaryotic cell.     Mitochondria have 2 membranes, forming 2 compartments inside.  To generate energy, hydrogen ions are accumulated between the 2 membranes.  Then they flow down the concentration gradient into the inner compartment through a protein that uses the energy of their flow to create ATP.     Genetic defects in the mitochondria affect tissues that use a lot of energy: nerves, muscles, liver, kidney.  They are unusual because they are inherited strictly from the mother—only the egg’s mitochondria go into the next generation. Cytoskeleton     The cytoskeleton consists of proteins that give the cell shape.  Without the cytoskeleton, cells would all be spherical.  The cytoskeleton also causes organelles to move within the cell, and causes the cells themselves to move about.     The three main components of the cytoskeleton are: microtubules, microfilaments, and intermediate filaments,     Microtubules are long hollow tubes made up of many subunits called tubulin.  They are used to pull the chromosomes apart during cell division.  Microtubules can also be put into a special circular arrangement to form cilia and flagella.   Special “motor proteins” cause these structures to have a whip-like motion, which propels the cell: a human sperm cell has a flagellum as a tail.     Microfilaments are composed of actin, which is also used in muscles.  Organelles move inside the cell by using a motor protein (myosin) to pull themselves along the actin microfilaments.     The rapid assembly and disassembly of microfilaments just under the cell’s surface causes the movements of amoebas and various animal cells     Intermediate filaments are the largest cytoskeleton elements.  They are composed of several different proteins.  They strengthen cells and give them shape.  Plant Cell Organelles     Plants have three special structures not found in animals: the chloroplast, the cell wall, and the central vacuole.     The chloroplast is the site of photosynthesis, the process of converting carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen using sunlight.  Most life depends on photosynthesis, directly or indirectly.  It uses the green pigment chlorophyll to capture the energy from light.     Like the mitochondria, chloroplasts have two membranes and their own circular DNA.  Chloroplasts are also thought to have originated from an ancient mutually beneficial relationship between photosynthetic bacteria and a primitive eukaryote.       In some plant cells, chloroplasts are modified to store starch (as in potatoes) or to contain other pigments (as in flowers).      Each plant cell is surrounded by a rigid cell wall made of cellulose and polysaccharides.  The cell wall is outside of the cell membrane.  In woody plants, the cell walls can become very thick and rigid.     Plant cells contain a central vacuole, which stores water. Osmotic pressure from the central vacuole squeezes the rest of the cytoplasm against the cell wall, giving the cell its strength.  Prokaryotic Cells     No internal membranes or organelles.     DNA loose in the cytoplasm.     Has a cell membrane, surrounded by a rigid cell wall that gives it shape.     Sometimes also a polysaccharide capsule surrounding the cell wall.     Flagella used for propulsion.  Different structure than eukaryotic flagella.     Not much internal structure, but prokaryotes have a very wide variety of internal metabolic systems, and they inhabit a much wider range of habitats than eukaryotes.