The Major Components of a Typical Animal Cell
This is a graphic of a typical animal cell.
As its outer boundary, the animal cell has a special structure called the cell or plasma membrane.
All of the substances that enter or leave the cell must in some way pass through this membrane.
The major substance of the cell is known as protoplasm. It is a combination of water and a variety of
materials dissolved in the water. Outside the cell nucleus (see below), protoplasm is called cytoplasm.
Inside the cell nucleus, protoplasm is called nucleoplasm.
Organelle - Endoplasmic reticulum
The endoplasmic reticulum resembles a circulatory system for the
individual cell. It is a network composed of unit (single-thickness) membranes.
Organelles – Ribosomes
The ribosomes are granular particles concerned with protein synthesis.
They may be found free, clustered, or attached to the endoplasmic reticulum.
Organelles – Vacuoles
The vacuoles are small spaces or cavities within the cytoplasm. These
serve functions at the cellular level such as digestion, respiration, excretion, and
Organelle - Golgi complex
The Golgi complex is a portion of the endoplasmic reticulum that aids in
the final preparation of certain proteins and mucus-like substances and in the
movement of these substances. It is best-developed in secretory cells.
Organelle – Mitochondria
The mitochondria are the "powerhouses" of the cell. They "recharge"
ADP molecules to form ATP molecules.
Organelles – Centrioles
There are ordinarily two centrioles. These organelles play a major role in cell division.
Organelle – Nucleus
Within the cell is the nucleus. This structure has a nuclear membrane separating it from the cytoplasm. Within the nucleus is the chromatin material, made up of the protein deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). At the time of cell division, this chromatin material is aggregated into individual structures known as chromosomes. Each chromosome has a set of specific genes, which determine all of the physical and chemical characteristics of the body, which represent its structure and function.
Log in to save your progress and obtain a certificate in Alison’s free Introduction to Cellular Physiology online course
Sign up to save your progress and obtain a certificate in Alison’s free Introduction to Cellular Physiology online course
Please enter you email address and we will mail you a link to reset your password.