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Cell structure and function Cytoskeleton - a network of minute tubules and

Levels of organization:
 Provides structural support for the cell and its
 Cells organelles
 Tissues  Provides a mechanism for transfer of materials
 Organs within the cell and movement of the cell itself.
 Organ systems
 Organism Organelles
Endoplasmic reticulum - an extensive system of
The cell is the functional unit of all living organisms.
flattened membrane-bound tubules, saccules and
 Simple organisms - bacteria and algae consist of a flattened cisterns.
single cell.
Golgi apparatus – another discrete system of
 Multicellular organisms - more complex consist of membrane-bound saccules
many cells as well as extracellular matrix.
 Cells with great variety of functional and  Typically located close to the nucleus.
morphological specializations.
Mitochondria - scattered free in the cytoplasm are a
 Differentiation - process by which cells assume
number of relatively large, elongated organelles.
specialized structure and function.
 Have a smooth outer membrane and a convoluted
All eukaryotic cells conform to a basic structural model:
inner membrane system.
Other membrane-bound structures
 Intracellular transport vesicles
 Lysosome - digestion and waste removal
 Peroxisomes - the breakdown of very long
chain fatty acids through beta-oxidation

Plasma membrane or plasmalemma

 An external lipid membrane

 Serves as a dynamic interface with the external
Eukaryotic cells consist of a nucleus and cytoplasm o Adjacent cells
o Extracellular matrix
The cytoplasm contains a number of organelles each
with a defined function. Functions:

 Organelles bounded by membranes  Transfer of nutrients and metabolites

 Fatty acids and triglycerides are mostly synthesized  Attachment of the cell to adjacent cells and
within the cytosol. extracellular matrix
 Communication with the external environment.
The nucleus may be considered the largest organelle.
Membrane structure
 Its substance – nucleoplasm
 Bounded by a membrane system called the nuclear  Permeability to lipid-soluble molecules
envelope or membrane.  Permeability to non-lipid-soluble molecules
 Contains the genetic material of the cell.  Singer and nicholson (early 1970s) - proposed the
fluid mosaic model of membrane structure.
Cytoplasm  A lipid bilayer sandwiched between two layers of
Cytosol - fluid medium in the cytoplasm in which the protein.
organelles are suspended and many metabolic reactions
take place.
Fluid mosaic model of membrane structure o Intrinsic or integral proteins
o Extrinsic or peripheral proteins
o Transmembrane proteins
External surface of the plasma membranes of animal
Glycocalyx - polysaccharide molecules projecting from
the surface of the bilayer forming an outer coating.
 Involved in cell recognition phenomena
 In the formation of intercellular adhesions
 In the absorption of molecules to the cell surface
 In some situations, provides mechanical and
Cell membranes consist of a bilayer of phospholipid chemical protection for the plasma membrane.
molecules that are amphipathic
Polar, hydrophilic (water-loving)
 Glycoproteins -membrane proteins conjugated with
short chains of polysaccharide
 Derived from glycerol  Glycolipids -membrane lipids conjugated with short
conjugated to a nitrogenous chains of polysaccharide
compound via a phosphate bridge.
Differential centrifugation – for cell fractionation
Non-polar, hydrophobic (water- (isolation of subcellular components)
hating) tail.
 Consists of two long-chain fatty
acids, each covalently linked to the
glycerol component of the polar
 Straight-chain saturated fatty
 Unsaturated fatty acid which is kinked at the
position of the unsaturated bond.
Phospholipid & cholesterol molecules:
 The most obvious feature of the cell seen under the
light microscope.
 Considered the largest organelle in the cell.
 “control center” of the cell
 Primarily contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
arranged in the form of chromosomes - the
“blueprint” from which all the other components of
Fluidity and flexibility of the membrane:
the cell are constructed.
 Due to presence of unsaturated fatty acids  When a cell divides, the first step in this process is
o Prevent close packing of the hydrophobic replication of the DNA so that a copy of the cell
tails. blueprint goes to each of the daughter cells.
 Due to cholesterol molecules in the bilayer
Nuclear contents:
o Stabilize and regulate the fluidity of the
phospholipid bilayer  DNA - making up less than 20% of its mass
 Due to protein molecules incorporated in the  Protein called nucleoprotein - synthesized in the
membrane. cytoplasm and imported into the nucleus.
 Histone proteins - low molecular weight, positively  Each subunit is composed of a
charged which bind tightly to DNA and control the strand of ribosomal RNA (rRNA)
coiling and expression of the genes encoded by the with associated ribosomal
DNA strand. proteins forming a globular
 Non-histone proteins - including enzymes for the structure.
synthesis of DNA and RNA and regulatory proteins.  Ribosomes align Mrna strands
so that transfer RNA (tRNA)
Ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules may be brought into
 Newly synthesized messenger – mRNA position and their amino acids added sequentially
 Transfer – tRNA to the growing polypeptide chain – protein
 Ribosomal - rRNA synthesis

Chromatins refers to chromosomes at interphase Polyribosomes -

chromatin in the nucleus forms 2 distinct dispersal ribosomes that are
patterns: connected to each
other by a fine thread
 Condensed areas – heterochomatin; not actively of mRNA.
producing RNA. (inactive)
Ribosomes are sites for protein synthesis
 Extended areas – (light) euchromatin; in the
process of producing RNA.(active)  Free ribosomes – sites
Nucleolus for protein synthesis that
are to be used within the
 Spherical, highly basophilic structure that is usually cell.
located eccentrically in the nucleus.  Attached ribosomes -
 Nuclei of cells highly active in protein synthesis, sites for protein synthesis
contain none or more dense structures called that are to be exported and
nucleoli also for protein to be used
 The sites of ribosomal RNA synthesis and ribosome within the cell
Endoplasmic reticulum
Nuclear envelope (nuclear membrane)
 A system of interconnecting tubules, vesicles, and
 Visible in electron flattened sacs (cisternae).
micrographs.  The most extensive membranous structure in the
 Too thin to be resolved cell.
by lm.  Membrane units are
 Consists of two unit much thinner than the
membranes (outer and plasmalemma; not visible
inner) 7-8 nm each. by routine histo stains.
 Separated by 10-30 nm
ER consists of 2 contiguous
space (perinuclear space)
 Continuous with the
rough endoplasmic  Rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER)
reticulum (rer).  Smooth endoplasmic reticulum (sER)
 Perforated by circular openings (nuclear pores), 70
nm Rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER)
 Nuclear pores – provide a channel for the exchange  Receives the proteins that are synthesized by the
of substances between the cytoplasm and the ribosomes attached to it.
nucleus.  Proteins destined for export and lysosomal proteins
Ribosomes (enzymes) pass through the membrane into its
 Minute cytoplasmic organelles, each composed of
two subunits of unequal size.
 Proteins are processed into the form of transfer 4. On arrival at the concave Tran Golgi network, the
vesicles before handing them over to the Golgi proteins are accurately sorted into secretory
complex. vesicles.
Smooth endoplasmic reticulum (sER) Group of plasma cells from inflamed tissue
 Continuous with and similar to rER except that it  Cells are responsible for antibody production as
lacks ribosomes. part of the body’s immune defense.
Principal functions:  The plentiful rer is strongly basophilic and the
protein is acidophilic so that there is staining with
 Biosynthesis of cholesterol land phospholipids both eosin and hematoxylin giving a purplish or
 Membrane synthesis and repair. amphophilic color to the cytoplasm.
 The well-developed golgi complex g consists of lipid
Liver cells, sER is rich in cytochrome p450 and plays a (membrane), which is dissolved out during
major role in the metabolism of glycogen and preparation. Thus the golgi is unstained and
detoxification of various noxious metabolic by-products, appears as a pale area (negative image) adjacent to
drugs and alcohol. the nucleus
Muscle cells: sarcoplasmic reticulum, sER is involved in Lysosomes
the storage and release of calcium ions that activate the
contractile mechanism  Membrane bound organelles containing an
amorphous granular material.
Golgi complex
 Contain electron-dense particulate material
 Consists of stacked, saucer-shaped membrane-  Have more than 40 different degradative enzymes
bound cisternae. including proteases, lipases and nucleases – come
 The outermost cisternae take the form of a network from golgi complex.
of tubules known as the cis and Trans golgi Lysosomes are the principal organelles involved in:
 Heterophagy – digestion of phagocytosed material
from outside.
 Autophagy – digestion of unneeded or senescent
cell organelles.
Peroxisomes or microbodies
 Small, spherical, membrane-bound organelles that
closely resemble lysosomes in size and
Contain oxidases and catalases:
Packaging of proteins in the Golgi complex (from rER)  Oxidases are utilized in catabolic pathways which
form hydrogen peroxide, a potentially cytotoxic by-
1. Proteins synthesized in the rER are transported to
the Golgi apparatus in coated vesicles (transfer
 Hydrogen peroxide is used by certain phagocytic
vesicle). cells to kill ingested microorganisms.
2. On arrival at the convex cis Golgi network, the  Catalase regulates hydrogen peroxide
coated proteins disengage and the vesicles fuse concentration, utilizing it in the oxidation of a
with the membrane of the forming face. variety of potentially toxic substances including
3. Proteins are passed from cisterna to cisterna. phenols and alcohol.
Glycosylation of proteins is completed by sequential
addition of sugar residues and the proteins are
packaged for transport to their final destination.  Temporary structures (may or may not be
 Not all cells contain inclusions.
 Fat droplets, glycogen granules, zymogen granules, Cytoskeleton
pigment granules, crystals, lipochrome pigments,
lipofuschin pigments and dust particles.  Supporting framework of minute filaments and
 Maintains the shape and polarity of the cell.
 To accommodate the dynamic functions of cells:
 Sympathetic ganglion cells:
 Cells that propel themselves about by amoeboid
contains lipofuscin, accumulates as
movement (e.g. White blood cells)
brown granular material in the
 Cells that have actively motile membrane
cytoplasm (age pigment)
specializations such as cilia and flagella (tracheal
 Nerve cells: contain melanin, as
epithelial cells)
the substantia nigra
 Cells that are highly specialized for contractility (e.g.
 Basal layer of the skin contain
Muscle cells)
melanin, which is mainly responsible
 Cell division - a process that involves extensive
for skin color.
reorganization of cellular constituents.
 Fat droplets in adipocytes for
lipid storage. Cytoskeleton
 Pas stain reveal glycogen, the storage
form of carbohydrates in lever cells.
 Paneth cells in intestinal epithelium
contain zymogen granules.

 Mitochondria are involved in cellular respiration
 Produce most of ATP
utilized by the cell
 Cristae – inner
membrane that encloses
 Matrix – contains 1. Microfilaments:
enzymes that break down  Extremely fine protein filament (5-7 nm)
nutrient molecules; also  Made up of f-actin filament – undergo frequent
contains mitochondrial dna assembly and disassembly to accommodate
and ribosomes changes in cell shape and cell movement.
Mitochondria  Abundant in the peripheral areas of the cell just
beneath the cell membrane.
 The principal organelles involved in cellular  Involved in the activities of the cell membrane such
respiration in mammals as exocytosis and endocytosis.
 Features: often “hot-dog” shaped, but can become  Less abundant in the central portion of the cell.
rod-like, filamentous, spherical, etc.  Probably involved in the movement of cell
 The number in the cell depends on its energy organelles.
requirement.  Involved in the locomotion of certain cells.
o Liver cell – 2000 m / cell 2. Intermediate filaments
o Resting lymphocytes – only a few m  Intermediate in size between microfilaments and
 Tend to aggregate in areas within the cell where microtubules (10-15 nm in diameter).
energy requirement is high.  Intermediate filaments have 5 types (morph.
 Sperm cell; m conc. At the mid piece of tail. Similar) but differ in protein contents:
a) Keratin – in keratinocytes of skin cells; for cell-to-
cell attachment.
b) Desmin – skeletin; in muscle cells; more numerous
in smooth than in striated muscles .
c) Vimentin – scattered all over cytoplasm of
fibroblasts and muscle cell.
d) Neuro filament - provide internal support for
e) Glial filament - provide internal support for glial
3. Microtubules
 Tubules that are much thicker than microfilaments
or intermediate filaments (25 nm).
 Formed in the centrosomes (microtubule organizing
center; MTOC).
o Attached to organelles – for movement
o Scattered in the cytoplasm – internal
support to cell
o Comprise centrioles – sources of mitotic
spindles, the cilia of ciliated cells and
flagellum of sperm cells.