Most of a cell’s enzymes are found in the cytoplasm. The most common enzyme that you will find is called ribonucleases, and it helps to break down RNA molecules so they can be used as building blocks for other important structures inside the cell. Other enzymes include proteases that help with protein digestion, glycosidases that help with carbohydrate digestion, and lipases that help digest fats.
The cytoplasm is a gel-like fluid that fills most of the space inside a cell. It contains water, ions such as sodium and potassium, proteins like enzymes and ribosomes (which help synthesize other molecules), sugars, lipids including fats called phospholipids, fatty acids called triacylglycerols or triglycerides, vitamins A and D for example, pigments to absorb light energy for photosynthesis in plants, carbohydrates from digestion used by cells as an energy source,, all sorts of minerals needed by body cells. The cytoplasm also has structures called mitochondria which act like batteries to store ATP – our main source of energy.
In addition to the cytoplasm, there is also a region called the nucleoplasm and it contains DNA – our genetic material and protein molecules including histones that help package up DNA into chromosomes (our 23 pairs). The cell organelles are bounded by membranes which makes them selectively permeable so they can control what goes in and out. In plant cells for example these structures contain chloroplasts with their green pigment just like leaves do to capture sunlight for photosynthesis.
The nucleus has two main functions: It performs most of the cell’s synthesizing activities; it stores all your genes on its spindly physical threads known as chromatin fibers. Without a nucleus we would not have a cell capable of doing anything.
The DNA is the basis for all life and provides instructions on how to make another living thing. But there’s something else that must happen too the protein-based enzymes in a cell need to read the genetic code found within this molecule, translate it and then use these directions to assemble new proteins from simpler building blocks like amino acids or nucleotide bases.
Proteins are essential because they provide structure as well as most of what we call “life.” They also transport substances around cells and form an important link between genes (DNA) and those structures inside cells out of which our body parts can be built: organs, bones, muscles etc. This process is called transcription.
What is a cell?A cell is the smallest unit of life. It’s made up of three parts: cytoplasm, nucleus and organelles. The most important organelle in any cell is the mitochondria which has its own DNA separate from that found in other cells within our bodies.
Anatomy of a CellCells are very small and can only be seen under powerful microscopes so it is not surprising to learn that they measure just 0.0000001mm across! There are many different types but all contain an outer membrane or ‘cell wall’ called plasma membrance, ribosomes (or rRNA) for protein synthesis, vacuoles for storage, lysosome where waste is broken down, mitochondria for energy production and a nucleus where all genetic information is stored.
Once the enzymes have been made they are put together with other chemicals to form cell parts which can be built: organs, bones, muscles etc. This process of assembling different proteins to make new cells is called transcription. It happens at an astonishing rate – every second thousands of bits of DNA in our body’s chromosomes are copied into RNA that will then become mRNA or ‘messenger’ RNA that carries the code out to ribosomes so it can be translated into protein molecules by tRNA (transfer RNA).
Mitosis vs Mitotic Cell DivisionThere are two types of division most common in living things: mitosis, which is when the nucleus divides and creates identical copies of chromosomes; and meiotic division, where the cell splits into two cells – one with an egg or sperm-carrying type of DNA called haploid that can combine to create a new organism.
Once a cell has grown it will undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death), if there are too many cells in one place.
The Final BlowMany living things have systems which try to repair any damage done by wear and tear from life. They do this through autophagy: cellular recycling. When they detect anything wrong they destroy their own components so that healthy ones can take their place. This means our bodies turn themselves inside out and upside down to stay healthy.
Fact 01: there are trillions upon trillions of individual cells in one human body, each with its own DNA. Fact 02: most cellular functions are carried out at the level of organelles or membrane-bound structures within them. Fact 03: every cell in your body shares 99% genes with other humans – even if people have different skin colors they’re still so genetically similar that we can’t tell them apart based on eye color.