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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." These lipid layers are made up of a number of fatty acid building blocks. The fatty acid that makes up this membrane has two different parts to it- a small water loving head- hydrophilic head. Hydro stands for water and philic means liking or loving. The other part of this fatty acid is a long water-repelling or water hating tail. This tail is hydrophobic- Hydro stands for water and phobic means fear. The plasma membrane is arranged in such a way so that the tails face each other on the inside and the heads face towards the outside of the membrane. back to top cannels/pores Channels/pores- A channel in the cell's plasma membrane. This channel is made up of certain proteins whose function is to control the movement of food and water into the cell. These channels are made up of certain proteins. back to top nucleus 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. DNA and Nucleolus DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) contains all the information for cells to live, perform their functions and reproduce. Inside the nucleus is another organelle called the nucleolus. The nucleolus is responsible for making ribosomes. The circles on the surface of the nucleus are the nuclear pores. These are where ribosomes, and other materials move in and out of the cell. back to top endoplasmic reticulum Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)- It is a network of membranes throughout the cytoplasm of the cell. There are two types of ER. When ribosomes are attached it is called rough ER and smooth ER when there are no ribosomes attached. The rough endoplasmic reticulum is where most protein synthesis occurs in the cell. The function of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum is to synthesize lipids in the cell. The smooth ER also helps in the detoxification of harmful substances in the cell. back to top ribosomes Ribosomes- Organelles that help in the synthesis of proteins. Ribosomes are made up of two parts, called subunits.robosomes large small Ribosomes are made of one large and one small subunit. They get their names from their size. One unit is larger than the other so they are called large and small subunits. Both these subunits are necessary for protein synthesis in the cell. When the two units are docked together with a special information unit called messenger RNA, they make proteins. Some ribosomes are found in the cytoplasm, but most are attached to the endoplasmic reticulum. While attached to the ER, ribosomes make proteins that the cell needs and also ones to be exported from the cell for work elsewhere in the body. back to top golgi Golgi complex- It is the organelle in the cell that is responsible for sorting and correctly shipping the proteins produced in the ER. Just like our postal packages, which should have a correct shipping address, the proteins produced in the ER should be correctly sent to their respective address. It is a very important step in protein synthesis. If the Golgi complex makes a mistake in shipping the proteins to the right address, certain functions in the cell may stop. This organelle was named after an Italian physician-Camillo Golgi. He was the first person to describe this organelle in the cell. It is also the only organelle that is capitalized. back to top mitochondria Mitochondrion- This is the cell’s powerhouse. This organelle packages the energy from the food you eat into ATP molecules. Every type of cell has a different amount of mitochondria (plural). There are more mitochondria in cells that have to perform lots of work, for example- your leg muscle cells, heart muscle cells etc. Other cells need less energy to do their work and have less mitochondria. back to top chloroplast Chloroplast- This is the organelle in which photosynthesis takes place. In this organelle the light energy of the sun is converted into chemical energy. Chloroplasts are found only in plant cells not animal cells. The chemical energy that is produced by chloroplasts is finally used to make carbohydrates like starch that get stored in the plant. Chloroplasts contain tiny pigments called chlorophylls. Chlorophylls are responsible for trapping the light energy from the sun. back to top vesticles Vesicles- This term literally means "small vessel". This organelle helps store and transport products produced by the cell. The vesicles are the transport and delivery vehicles like our mail and Federal Express trucks. Some vesicles deliver materials to parts of the cell and others transport materials outside the cell in a process called exocytosis. back to top vacuole Vacuole- Plant cells have what looks like a very large empty space in the middle. This space is called the vacuole. Don't be fooled, the vacuole contains large amounts of water and stores other important materials such as sugars, ions and pigments. back to top cytoplasm 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. Some fun facts about water and the human body: Adult bodies are about 50 to 65 percent water. A child’s body has a little more water at 75 percent. The human brain is about 75 percent water. back to top cell walls 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. Unlike cell membranes, materials cannot get through cell walls. This would be a problem for plant cells if not for special openings called plasmodesmata. These openings are used to communicate and transport materials between plant cells because the cell membranes are able to touch and therefore exchange needed materials. back to top peroxisomes Peroxisomes- These collect and safely break down chemicals that are toxic to the cell. back to top centrioles Centrioles- These are found only in animal cells and come into action when the cells divide, helping with the organization of chromosomes. back to top lysosomes Lysosomes- Created by the Golgi apparatus, these help break down large molecules into smaller pieces that the cell can use. back to top cytoskeleton Cytoskeleton- Made up of filaments and tubules, it helps shape and support the cell. It also helps move 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. back to top
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