Cell (biology)

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Cell
Wilson1900Fig2.jpg
Onion ( Allium cepa) root cells in different phases of the cell cycle (drawn by E. B. Wilson, 1900)
Celltypes.svg
A eukaryotic cell (left) and prokaryotic cell (right)
Identifiers
MeSH D002477
TH H1.00.01.0.00001
FMA 68646
Anatomical terminology
Structure of an animal cell Structure of animal cell.JPG
Structure of an animal cell

The cell (from Latin cella, meaning "small room" [1] ) is the basic structural, functional, and biological unit of all known organisms. A cell is the smallest unit of life. Cells are often called the "building blocks of life". The study of cells is called cell biology or cellular biology.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Life Characteristic that distinguishes physical entities having biological processes

Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities that have biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased, or because they never had such functions and are classified as inanimate. Various forms of life exist, such as plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea, and bacteria. The criteria can at times be ambiguous and may or may not define viruses, viroids, or potential synthetic life as "living". Biology is the science concerned with the study of life.

Cell biology Scientific Discipline that Studies Cells

Cell biology is a branch of biology that studies the structure and function of the cell, which is the basic unit of life. Cell biology is concerned with the physiological properties, metabolic processes, signaling pathways, life cycle, chemical composition, and interactions of the cell with their environment. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level as it encompasses prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells. Knowing the components of cells and how cells work is fundamental to all biological sciences; it is also essential for research in bio-medical fields such as cancer, and other diseases. Research in cell biology is closely related to genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, and cytochemistry. For some extra information, the recommendation is to check the biology resource in the external link.

Contents

Cells consist of cytoplasm enclosed within a membrane, which contains many biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. [2] Organisms can be classified as unicellular (consisting of a single cell; including bacteria) or multicellular (including plants and animals). [3] The number of cells in plants and animals varies from species to species, it has been estimated that humans contain somewhere around 40 trillion (4×1013) cells. [lower-alpha 1] [4] Most plant and animal cells are visible only under a microscope, with dimensions between 1 and 100  micrometres. [5]

Cytoplasm all of the contents of a cell excluding the plasma membrane and nucleus, but including other subcellular structures

In cell biology, the cytoplasm is all of the material within a cell, enclosed by the cell membrane, except for the cell nucleus. The material inside the nucleus and contained within the nuclear membrane is termed the nucleoplasm. The main components of the cytoplasm are cytosol – a gel-like substance, the organelles – the cell's internal sub-structures, and various cytoplasmic inclusions. The cytoplasm is about 80% water and usually colorless.

Cell membrane Biological membrane that separates the interior of a cell from its outside environment

The cell membrane is a biological membrane that separates the interior of all cells from the outside environment which protects the cell from its environment. Cell membrane is consisted of a lipid bilayer, including cholesterols that sit between phospholipids to maintain their fluidity under various temperature, in combination with proteins such as integral proteins, and peripheral proteins that go across inside and outside of the membrane serving as membrane transporter, and loosely attached to the outer (peripheral) side of the cell membrane acting as several kinds of enzymes shaping the cell, respectively. The cell membrane controls the movement of substances in and out of cells and organelles. In this way, it is selectively permeable to ions and organic molecules. In addition, cell membranes are involved in a variety of cellular processes such as cell adhesion, ion conductivity and cell signalling and serve as the attachment surface for several extracellular structures, including the cell wall, the carbohydrate layer called the glycocalyx, and the intracellular network of protein fibers called the cytoskeleton. In the field of synthetic biology, cell membranes can be artificially reassembled.

Biomolecule Molecule that is produced by a living organism

A biomolecule or biological molecule is a loosely used term for molecules and ions present in organisms that are essential to one or more typically biological processes, such as cell division, morphogenesis, or development. Biomolecules include large macromolecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids, as well as small molecules such as primary metabolites, secondary metabolites, and natural products. A more general name for this class of material is biological materials. Biomolecules are usually endogenous, produced within the organism but organisms usually need exogenous biomolecules, for example certain nutrients, to survive.

Cells were discovered by Robert Hooke in 1665, who named them for their resemblance to cells inhabited by Christian monks in a monastery. [6] [7] Cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, states that all organisms are composed of one or more cells, that cells are the fundamental unit of structure and function in all living organisms, and that all cells come from pre-existing cells. [8] Cells emerged on Earth at least 3.5 billion years ago. [9] [10] [11]

Robert Hooke English natural philosopher, architect and polymath

Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath. As a young adult, he was a financially impoverished scientific inquirer, but came into wealth and good reputation following his actions as Surveyor to the City of London after the great fire of 1666 . At that time, he was also the curator of experiments of the Royal Society, and a member of its council, Gresham Professor of Geometry. He was also an important architect of his time—though few of his buildings now survive and some of those are generally misattributed—and was instrumental in devising a set of planning controls for London, the influence of which remains today. Allan Chapman has characterised him as "England's Leonardo".

Christian monasticism

Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of individuals who live ascetic and typically cloistered lives that are dedicated to Christian worship. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules and, in modern times, the Canon law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Those living the monastic life are known by the generic terms monks (men) and nuns (women). The word monk originated from the Greek monachos "monk", itself from monos meaning "alone".

Monastery complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplace(s) of monks or nuns

A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school, and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery.

Cell types

Cells are of two types: eukaryotic, which contain a nucleus, and prokaryotic, which do not. Prokaryotes are single-celled organisms, while eukaryotes can be either single-celled or multicellular.

Cell nucleus A membrane-bounded organelle of eukaryotic cells in which chromosomes are housed and replicated.

In cell biology, the nucleus is a membrane-bound organelle found in eukaryotic cells. Eukaryotes usually have a single nucleus, but a few cell types, such as mammalian red blood cells, have no nuclei, and a few others including osteoclasts have many.

Unicellular organism Organism that consists of only one cell

A unicellular organism, also known as a single-celled organism, is an organism that consists of only one cell, unlike a multicellular organism that consists of more than one cell. Unicellular organisms fall into two general categories: prokaryotic organisms and eukaryotic organisms. Prokaryotes include bacteria and archaea. Many eukaryotes are multicellular, but the group includes the protozoa, unicellular algae, and unicellular fungi. Unicellular organisms are thought to be the oldest form of life, with early protocells possibly emerging 3.8–4 billion years ago.

Multicellular organism Organism that consists of more than one cell

Multicellular organisms are organisms that consist of more than one cell, in contrast to unicellular organisms.

Prokaryotic cells

Structure of a typical prokaryotic cell Average prokaryote cell- en.svg
Structure of a typical prokaryotic cell

Prokaryotes include bacteria and archaea, two of the three domains of life. Prokaryotic cells were the first form of life on Earth, characterised by having vital biological processes including cell signaling. They are simpler and smaller than eukaryotic cells, and lack membrane-bound organelles such as a nucleus. The DNA of a prokaryotic cell consists of a single circular chromosome that is in direct contact with the cytoplasm. The nuclear region in the cytoplasm is called the nucleoid. Most prokaryotes are the smallest of all organisms ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 µm in diameter. [12]

Bacteria A domain of prokaryotes – single celled organisms without a nucleus

Bacteria are a type of biological cell. They constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most of its habitats. Bacteria inhabit soil, water, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, and the deep portions of Earth's crust. Bacteria also live in symbiotic and parasitic relationships with plants and animals. Most bacteria have not been characterised, and only about 27 percent of the bacterial phyla have species that can be grown in the laboratory . The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology, a branch of microbiology.

Archaea A domain of single-celled prokaryotic microorganisms

Archaea constitute a domain of single-celled organisms. These microorganisms are prokaryotes, and have no cell nucleus. Archaea were initially classified as bacteria, receiving the name archaebacteria, but this classification is outmoded.

Domain (biology) Taxonomic rank

In biological taxonomy, a domain, also superkingdom or empire, is the highest taxonomic rank of organisms in the three-domain system of taxonomy designed by Carl Woese et.al. in 1990.

A prokaryotic cell has three architectural regions:

The cell envelope comprises the inner cell membrane and the cell wall of a bacterium. In gram-negative bacteria an outer membrane is also included. This envelope is not present in the Mollicutes where the cell wall is absent.

Cell wall rigid or semi-rigid envelope lying outside the cell membrane of plant, fungal, most prokaryotic cells and some protozoan parasites, maintaining their shape and protecting them from osmotic lysis

A cell wall is a structural layer surrounding some types of cells, just outside the cell membrane. It can be tough, flexible, and sometimes rigid. It provides the cell with both structural support and protection, and also acts as a filtering mechanism. Cell walls are present in most prokaryotes, in algae, fungi and eukaryotes including plants but are absent in animals. A major function is to act as pressure vessels, preventing over-expansion of the cell when water enters.

Bacterial capsule

The bacterial capsule is a very large structure of many bacteria. It is a polysaccharide layer that lies outside the cell envelope, and is thus deemed part of the outer envelope of a bacterial cell. It is a well-organized layer, not easily washed off, and it can be the cause of various diseases.

Structure of a typical animal cell Animal cell structure en.svg
Structure of a typical animal cell
Structure of a typical plant cell Plant cell structure-en.svg
Structure of a typical plant cell

Eukaryotic cells

Plants, animals, fungi, slime moulds, protozoa, and algae are all eukaryotic. These cells are about fifteen times wider than a typical prokaryote and can be as much as a thousand times greater in volume. The main distinguishing feature of eukaryotes as compared to prokaryotes is compartmentalization: the presence of membrane-bound organelles (compartments) in which specific activities take place. Most important among these is a cell nucleus, [3] an organelle that houses the cell's DNA. This nucleus gives the eukaryote its name, which means "true kernel (nucleus)". Other differences include:

Comparison of features of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
Prokaryotes Eukaryotes
Typical organisms bacteria, archaea protists, fungi, plants, animals
Typical size~ 1–5 µm [17] ~ 10–100 µm [17]
Type of nucleus nucleoid region; no true nucleustrue nucleus with double membrane
DNA circular (usually)linear molecules (chromosomes) with histone proteins
RNA/protein synthesiscoupled in the cytoplasm RNA synthesis in the nucleus
protein synthesis in the cytoplasm
Ribosomes 50S and 30S 60S and 40S
Cytoplasmic structurevery few structureshighly structured by endomembranes and a cytoskeleton
Cell movement flagella made of flagellin flagella and cilia containing microtubules; lamellipodia and filopodia containing actin
Mitochondria noneone to several thousand
Chloroplasts nonein algae and plants
Organizationusually single cellssingle cells, colonies, higher multicellular organisms with specialized cells
Cell division binary fission (simple division) mitosis (fission or budding)
meiosis
Chromosomes single chromosomemore than one chromosome
Membranes cell membrane Cell membrane and membrane-bound organelles

Subcellular components

All cells, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, have a membrane that envelops the cell, regulates what moves in and out (selectively permeable), and maintains the electric potential of the cell. Inside the membrane, the cytoplasm takes up most of the cell's volume. All cells (except red blood cells which lack a cell nucleus and most organelles to accommodate maximum space for hemoglobin) possess DNA, the hereditary material of genes, and RNA, containing the information necessary to build various proteins such as enzymes, the cell's primary machinery. There are also other kinds of biomolecules in cells. This article lists these primary cellular components, then briefly describes their function.

Membrane

Detailed diagram of lipid bilayer cell membrane Cell membrane detailed diagram en.svg
Detailed diagram of lipid bilayer cell membrane

The cell membrane, or plasma membrane, is a biological membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell. In animals, the plasma membrane is the outer boundary of the cell, while in plants and prokaryotes it is usually covered by a cell wall. This membrane serves to separate and protect a cell from its surrounding environment and is made mostly from a double layer of phospholipids, which are amphiphilic (partly hydrophobic and partly hydrophilic). Hence, the layer is called a phospholipid bilayer, or sometimes a fluid mosaic membrane. Embedded within this membrane is a variety of protein molecules that act as channels and pumps that move different molecules into and out of the cell. [3] The membrane is semi-permeable, and selectively permeable, in that it can either let a substance (molecule or ion) pass through freely, pass through to a limited extent or not pass through at all. Cell surface membranes also contain receptor proteins that allow cells to detect external signaling molecules such as hormones.

Cytoskeleton

A fluorescent image of an endothelial cell. Nuclei are stained blue, mitochondria are stained red, and microfilaments are stained green. DAPIMitoTrackerRedAlexaFluor488BPAE.jpg
A fluorescent image of an endothelial cell. Nuclei are stained blue, mitochondria are stained red, and microfilaments are stained green.

The cytoskeleton acts to organize and maintain the cell's shape; anchors organelles in place; helps during endocytosis, the uptake of external materials by a cell, and cytokinesis, the separation of daughter cells after cell division; and moves parts of the cell in processes of growth and mobility. The eukaryotic cytoskeleton is composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments and microtubules. There are a great number of proteins associated with them, each controlling a cell's structure by directing, bundling, and aligning filaments. [3] The prokaryotic cytoskeleton is less well-studied but is involved in the maintenance of cell shape, polarity and cytokinesis. [18] The subunit protein of microfilaments is a small, monomeric protein called actin. The subunit of microtubules is a dimeric molecule called tubulin. Intermediate filaments are heteropolymers whose subunits vary among the cell types in different tissues. But some of the subunit protein of intermediate filaments include vimentin, desmin, lamin (lamins A, B and C), keratin (multiple acidic and basic keratins), neurofilament proteins (NF–L, NF–M).

Genetic material

Two different kinds of genetic material exist: deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). Cells use DNA for their long-term information storage. The biological information contained in an organism is encoded in its DNA sequence. [3] RNA is used for information transport (e.g., mRNA) and enzymatic functions (e.g., ribosomal RNA). Transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules are used to add amino acids during protein translation.

Prokaryotic genetic material is organized in a simple circular bacterial chromosome in the nucleoid region of the cytoplasm. Eukaryotic genetic material is divided into different, [3] linear molecules called chromosomes inside a discrete nucleus, usually with additional genetic material in some organelles like mitochondria and chloroplasts (see endosymbiotic theory).

A human cell has genetic material contained in the cell nucleus (the nuclear genome) and in the mitochondria (the mitochondrial genome). In humans the nuclear genome is divided into 46 linear DNA molecules called chromosomes, including 22 homologous chromosome pairs and a pair of sex chromosomes. The mitochondrial genome is a circular DNA molecule distinct from the nuclear DNA. Although the mitochondrial DNA is very small compared to nuclear chromosomes, [3] it codes for 13 proteins involved in mitochondrial energy production and specific tRNAs.

Foreign genetic material (most commonly DNA) can also be artificially introduced into the cell by a process called transfection. This can be transient, if the DNA is not inserted into the cell's genome, or stable, if it is. Certain viruses also insert their genetic material into the genome.

Organelles

Organelles are parts of the cell which are adapted and/or specialized for carrying out one or more vital functions, analogous to the organs of the human body (such as the heart, lung, and kidney, with each organ performing a different function). [3] Both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells have organelles, but prokaryotic organelles are generally simpler and are not membrane-bound.

There are several types of organelles in a cell. Some (such as the nucleus and golgi apparatus) are typically solitary, while others (such as mitochondria, chloroplasts, peroxisomes and lysosomes) can be numerous (hundreds to thousands). The cytosol is the gelatinous fluid that fills the cell and surrounds the organelles.

Eukaryotic

Human cancer cells, specifically HeLa cells, with DNA stained blue. The central and rightmost cell are in interphase, so their DNA is diffuse and the entire nuclei are labelled. The cell on the left is going through mitosis and its chromosomes have condensed. HeLa Hoechst 33258.jpg
Human cancer cells, specifically HeLa cells, with DNA stained blue. The central and rightmost cell are in interphase, so their DNA is diffuse and the entire nuclei are labelled. The cell on the left is going through mitosis and its chromosomes have condensed.
  • Cell nucleus: A cell's information center, the cell nucleus is the most conspicuous organelle found in a eukaryotic cell. It houses the cell's chromosomes, and is the place where almost all DNA replication and RNA synthesis (transcription) occur. The nucleus is spherical and separated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane called the nuclear envelope. The nuclear envelope isolates and protects a cell's DNA from various molecules that could accidentally damage its structure or interfere with its processing. During processing, DNA is transcribed, or copied into a special RNA, called messenger RNA (mRNA). This mRNA is then transported out of the nucleus, where it is translated into a specific protein molecule. The nucleolus is a specialized region within the nucleus where ribosome subunits are assembled. In prokaryotes, DNA processing takes place in the cytoplasm. [3]
  • Mitochondria and Chloroplasts: generate energy for the cell. Mitochondria are self-replicating organelles that occur in various numbers, shapes, and sizes in the cytoplasm of all eukaryotic cells. [3] Respiration occurs in the cell mitochondria, which generate the cell's energy by oxidative phosphorylation, using oxygen to release energy stored in cellular nutrients (typically pertaining to glucose) to generate ATP. Mitochondria multiply by binary fission, like prokaryotes. Chloroplasts can only be found in plants and algae, and they capture the sun's energy to make carbohydrates through photosynthesis.
Diagram of the endomembrane system Endomembrane system diagram en.svg
Diagram of the endomembrane system
  • Endoplasmic reticulum: The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a transport network for molecules targeted for certain modifications and specific destinations, as compared to molecules that float freely in the cytoplasm. The ER has two forms: the rough ER, which has ribosomes on its surface that secrete proteins into the ER, and the smooth ER, which lacks ribosomes. [3] The smooth ER plays a role in calcium sequestration and release.
  • Golgi apparatus: The primary function of the Golgi apparatus is to process and package the macromolecules such as proteins and lipids that are synthesized by the cell.
  • Lysosomes and Peroxisomes: Lysosomes contain digestive enzymes (acid hydrolases). They digest excess or worn-out organelles, food particles, and engulfed viruses or bacteria. Peroxisomes have enzymes that rid the cell of toxic peroxides. The cell could not house these destructive enzymes if they were not contained in a membrane-bound system. [3]
  • Centrosome: the cytoskeleton organiser: The centrosome produces the microtubules of a cell – a key component of the cytoskeleton. It directs the transport through the ER and the Golgi apparatus. Centrosomes are composed of two centrioles, which separate during cell division and help in the formation of the mitotic spindle. A single centrosome is present in the animal cells. They are also found in some fungi and algae cells.
  • Vacuoles: Vacuoles sequester waste products and in plant cells store water. They are often described as liquid filled space and are surrounded by a membrane. Some cells, most notably Amoeba , have contractile vacuoles, which can pump water out of the cell if there is too much water. The vacuoles of plant cells and fungal cells are usually larger than those of animal cells.

Eukaryotic and prokaryotic

  • Ribosomes: The ribosome is a large complex of RNA and protein molecules. [3] They each consist of two subunits, and act as an assembly line where RNA from the nucleus is used to synthesise proteins from amino acids. Ribosomes can be found either floating freely or bound to a membrane (the rough endoplasmatic reticulum in eukaryotes, or the cell membrane in prokaryotes). [19]

Structures outside the cell membrane

Many cells also have structures which exist wholly or partially outside the cell membrane. These structures are notable because they are not protected from the external environment by the semipermeable cell membrane. In order to assemble these structures, their components must be carried across the cell membrane by export processes.

Cell wall

Many types of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells have a cell wall. The cell wall acts to protect the cell mechanically and chemically from its environment, and is an additional layer of protection to the cell membrane. Different types of cell have cell walls made up of different materials; plant cell walls are primarily made up of cellulose, fungi cell walls are made up of chitin and bacteria cell walls are made up of peptidoglycan.

Prokaryotic

Capsule

A gelatinous capsule is present in some bacteria outside the cell membrane and cell wall. The capsule may be polysaccharide as in pneumococci, meningococci or polypeptide as Bacillus anthracis or hyaluronic acid as in streptococci. Capsules are not marked by normal staining protocols and can be detected by India ink or methyl blue; which allows for higher contrast between the cells for observation. [20] :87

Flagella

Flagella are organelles for cellular mobility. The bacterial flagellum stretches from cytoplasm through the cell membrane(s) and extrudes through the cell wall. They are long and thick thread-like appendages, protein in nature. A different type of flagellum is found in archaea and a different type is found in eukaryotes.

Fimbria

A fimbria also known as a pilus is a short, thin, hair-like filament found on the surface of bacteria. Fimbriae, or pili are formed of a protein called pilin (antigenic) and are responsible for attachment of bacteria to specific receptors of human cell (cell adhesion). There are special types of specific pili involved in bacterial conjugation.

Cellular processes

Prokaryotes divide by binary fission, while eukaryotes divide by mitosis or meiosis. Three cell growth types.svg
Prokaryotes divide by binary fission, while eukaryotes divide by mitosis or meiosis.

Replication

Cell division involves a single cell (called a mother cell) dividing into two daughter cells. This leads to growth in multicellular organisms (the growth of tissue) and to procreation (vegetative reproduction) in unicellular organisms. Prokaryotic cells divide by binary fission, while eukaryotic cells usually undergo a process of nuclear division, called mitosis, followed by division of the cell, called cytokinesis. A diploid cell may also undergo meiosis to produce haploid cells, usually four. Haploid cells serve as gametes in multicellular organisms, fusing to form new diploid cells.

DNA replication, or the process of duplicating a cell's genome, [3] always happens when a cell divides through mitosis or binary fission. This occurs during the S phase of the cell cycle.

In meiosis, the DNA is replicated only once, while the cell divides twice. DNA replication only occurs before meiosis I. DNA replication does not occur when the cells divide the second time, in meiosis II. [21] Replication, like all cellular activities, requires specialized proteins for carrying out the job. [3]

An outline of the catabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats Catabolism schematic.svg
An outline of the catabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats

Growth and metabolism

An overview of protein synthesis.
Within the nucleus of the cell (light blue), genes (DNA, dark blue) are transcribed into RNA. This RNA is then subject to post-transcriptional modification and control, resulting in a mature mRNA (red) that is then transported out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm (peach), where it undergoes translation into a protein. mRNA is translated by ribosomes (purple) that match the three-base codons of the mRNA to the three-base anti-codons of the appropriate tRNA. Newly synthesized proteins (black) are often further modified, such as by binding to an effector molecule (orange), to become fully active. Proteinsynthesis.png
An overview of protein synthesis.
Within the nucleus of the cell (light blue), genes (DNA, dark blue) are transcribed into RNA. This RNA is then subject to post-transcriptional modification and control, resulting in a mature mRNA (red) that is then transported out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm (peach), where it undergoes translation into a protein. mRNA is translated by ribosomes (purple) that match the three-base codons of the mRNA to the three-base anti-codons of the appropriate tRNA. Newly synthesized proteins (black) are often further modified, such as by binding to an effector molecule (orange), to become fully active.

Between successive cell divisions, cells grow through the functioning of cellular metabolism. Cell metabolism is the process by which individual cells process nutrient molecules. Metabolism has two distinct divisions: catabolism, in which the cell breaks down complex molecules to produce energy and reducing power, and anabolism, in which the cell uses energy and reducing power to construct complex molecules and perform other biological functions. Complex sugars consumed by the organism can be broken down into simpler sugar molecules called monosaccharides such as glucose. Once inside the cell, glucose is broken down to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), [3] a molecule that possesses readily available energy, through two different pathways.

Protein synthesis

Cells are capable of synthesizing new proteins, which are essential for the modulation and maintenance of cellular activities. This process involves the formation of new protein molecules from amino acid building blocks based on information encoded in DNA/RNA. Protein synthesis generally consists of two major steps: transcription and translation.

Transcription is the process where genetic information in DNA is used to produce a complementary RNA strand. This RNA strand is then processed to give messenger RNA (mRNA), which is free to migrate through the cell. mRNA molecules bind to protein-RNA complexes called ribosomes located in the cytosol, where they are translated into polypeptide sequences. The ribosome mediates the formation of a polypeptide sequence based on the mRNA sequence. The mRNA sequence directly relates to the polypeptide sequence by binding to transfer RNA (tRNA) adapter molecules in binding pockets within the ribosome. The new polypeptide then folds into a functional three-dimensional protein molecule.

Motility

Unicellular organisms can move in order to find food or escape predators. Common mechanisms of motion include flagella and cilia.

In multicellular organisms, cells can move during processes such as wound healing, the immune response and cancer metastasis. For example, in wound healing in animals, white blood cells move to the wound site to kill the microorganisms that cause infection. Cell motility involves many receptors, crosslinking, bundling, binding, adhesion, motor and other proteins. [22] The process is divided into three steps – protrusion of the leading edge of the cell, adhesion of the leading edge and de-adhesion at the cell body and rear, and cytoskeletal contraction to pull the cell forward. Each step is driven by physical forces generated by unique segments of the cytoskeleton. [23] [24]

Multicellularity

Cell specialization

Staining of a Caenorhabditis elegans which highlights the nuclei of its cells. C elegans stained.jpg
Staining of a Caenorhabditis elegans which highlights the nuclei of its cells.

Multicellular organisms are organisms that consist of more than one cell, in contrast to single-celled organisms. [25]

In complex multicellular organisms, cells specialize into different cell types that are adapted to particular functions. In mammals, major cell types include skin cells, muscle cells, neurons, blood cells, fibroblasts, stem cells, and others. Cell types differ both in appearance and function, yet are genetically identical. Cells are able to be of the same genotype but of different cell type due to the differential expression of the genes they contain.

Most distinct cell types arise from a single totipotent cell, called a zygote, that differentiates into hundreds of different cell types during the course of development. Differentiation of cells is driven by different environmental cues (such as cell–cell interaction) and intrinsic differences (such as those caused by the uneven distribution of molecules during division).

Origin of multicellularity

Multicellularity has evolved independently at least 25 times, [26] including in some prokaryotes, like cyanobacteria, myxobacteria, actinomycetes, Magnetoglobus multicellularis or Methanosarcina . However, complex multicellular organisms evolved only in six eukaryotic groups: animals, fungi, brown algae, red algae, green algae, and plants. [27] It evolved repeatedly for plants (Chloroplastida), once or twice for animals, once for brown algae, and perhaps several times for fungi, slime molds, and red algae. [28] Multicellularity may have evolved from colonies of interdependent organisms, from cellularization, or from organisms in symbiotic relationships.

The first evidence of multicellularity is from cyanobacteria-like organisms that lived between 3 and 3.5 billion years ago. [26] Other early fossils of multicellular organisms include the contested Grypania spiralis and the fossils of the black shales of the Palaeoproterozoic Francevillian Group Fossil B Formation in Gabon. [29]

The evolution of multicellularity from unicellular ancestors has been replicated in the laboratory, in evolution experiments using predation as the selective pressure. [26]

Origins

The origin of cells has to do with the origin of life, which began the history of life on Earth.

Origin of the first cell

Stromatolites are left behind by cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae. They are the oldest known fossils of life on Earth. This one-billion-year-old fossil is from Glacier National Park in the United States. Stromatolites.jpg
Stromatolites are left behind by cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae. They are the oldest known fossils of life on Earth. This one-billion-year-old fossil is from Glacier National Park in the United States.

There are several theories about the origin of small molecules that led to life on the early Earth. They may have been carried to Earth on meteorites (see Murchison meteorite), created at deep-sea vents, or synthesized by lightning in a reducing atmosphere (see Miller–Urey experiment). There is little experimental data defining what the first self-replicating forms were. RNA is thought to be the earliest self-replicating molecule, as it is capable of both storing genetic information and catalyzing chemical reactions (see RNA world hypothesis), but some other entity with the potential to self-replicate could have preceded RNA, such as clay or peptide nucleic acid. [30]

Cells emerged at least 3.5 billion years ago. [9] [10] [11] The current belief is that these cells were heterotrophs. The early cell membranes were probably more simple and permeable than modern ones, with only a single fatty acid chain per lipid. Lipids are known to spontaneously form bilayered vesicles in water, and could have preceded RNA, but the first cell membranes could also have been produced by catalytic RNA, or even have required structural proteins before they could form. [31]

Origin of eukaryotic cells

The eukaryotic cell seems to have evolved from a symbiotic community of prokaryotic cells. DNA-bearing organelles like the mitochondria and the chloroplasts are descended from ancient symbiotic oxygen-breathing proteobacteria and cyanobacteria, respectively, which were endosymbiosed by an ancestral archaean prokaryote.

There is still considerable debate about whether organelles like the hydrogenosome predated the origin of mitochondria, or vice versa: see the hydrogen hypothesis for the origin of eukaryotic cells.

History of research

Hooke's drawing of cells in cork, 1665 RobertHookeMicrographia1665.jpg
Hooke's drawing of cells in cork, 1665

See also

Related Research Articles

Endomembrane system A collection of membranous structures involved in transport within the cell. The main components of the endomembrane system are endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, vesicles, cell membrane and nuclear envelope.

The endomembrane system is composed of the different membranes that are suspended in the cytoplasm within a eukaryotic cell. These membranes divide the cell into functional and structural compartments, or organelles. In eukaryotes the organelles of the endomembrane system include: the nuclear membrane, the endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, vesicles, endosomes, and plasma (cell) membrane among others. The system is defined more accurately as the set of membranes that form a single functional and developmental unit, either being connected directly, or exchanging material through vesicle transport. Importantly, the endomembrane system does not include the membranes of chloroplasts or mitochondria, but might have evolved from the latter.

In cell biology, an organelle is a specialized subunit within a cell that has a specific function. Organelles are either separately enclosed within their own lipid bilayers or are spatially distinct functional units without a surrounding lipid bilayer.

Protein biosynthesis the cellular metabolic process in which a protein is formed, with the sequence of a mature mRNA or circRNA molecule specifying the sequence of amino acids

Protein synthesis is the process whereby biological cells generate new proteins; it is balanced by the loss of cellular proteins via degradation or export. Translation, the assembly of amino acids by ribosomes, is an essential part of the biosynthetic pathway, along with generation of messenger RNA (mRNA), aminoacylation of transfer RNA (tRNA), co-translational transport, and post-translational modification. Protein biosynthesis is strictly regulated at multiple steps. They are principally during transcription and translation.

Symbiogenesis An evolutionary theory holding that eukaryotic organelles evolved through symbiosis with prokaryotes

Symbiogenesis, or endosymbiotic theory, is an evolutionary theory of the origin of eukaryotic cells from prokaryotic organisms, first articulated in 1905 and 1910 by the Russian botanist Konstantin Mereschkowski, and advanced and substantiated with microbiological evidence by Lynn Margulis in 1967. It holds that the organelles distinguishing eukaryote cells evolved through symbiosis of individual single-celled prokaryotes . The theory holds that mitochondria, plastids such as chloroplasts, and possibly other organelles of eukaryotic cells represent formerly free-living prokaryotes taken one inside the other in endosymbiosis. In more detail, mitochondria appear to be related to Rickettsiales proteobacteria, and chloroplasts to nitrogen-fixing filamentous cyanobacteria. Among the many lines of evidence supporting symbiogenesis are that new mitochondria and plastids are formed only through binary fission, and that cells cannot create new ones otherwise; that the transport proteins called porins are found in the outer membranes of mitochondria, chloroplasts and bacterial cell membranes; that cardiolipin is found only in the inner mitochondrial membrane and bacterial cell membranes; and that some mitochondria and plastids contain single circular DNA molecules similar to the chromosomes of bacteria.

Cell theory Maligo araw-araw – makabubuting sabunin at kuskusin ang buong katawan, lalo na ang mga lugar na madalas mangamoy. Mainam na gumamit ng sabon. Pumili ng sabon na may anti-bacterial.2. Kiskisan ang singit – mainam na

In biology, cell theory is the historic scientific theory, now universally accepted, that living organisms are made up of cells, that they are the basic structural/organizational unit of all organisms, and that all cells come from pre-existing cells. Cells are the basic unit of structure in all organisms and also the basic unit of reproduction. With continual improvements made to microscopes over time, magnification technology advanced enough to discover cells in the 17th century. This discovery is largely attributed to Robert Hooke, and began the scientific study of cells, also known as cell biology. Over a century later, many debates about cells began amongst scientists. Most of these debates involved the nature of cellular regeneration, and the idea of cells as a fundamental unit of life. Cell theory was eventually formulated in 1839. This is usually credited to Matthias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann. However, many other scientists like Rudolf Virchow contributed to the theory. It was an important step in the movement away from spontaneous generation.

Endoplasm

Endoplasm generally refers to the inner, dense part of a cell's cytoplasm. This is opposed to the ectoplasm which is the outer (non-granulated) layer of the cytoplasm, which is typically watery and immediately adjacent to the plasma membrane. These two terms are mainly used to describe the cytoplasm of the amoeba, a protozoan, eukaryotic cell. The nucleus is separated from the endoplasm by the nuclear envelope. The different makeups/viscosities of the endoplasm and ectoplasm contribute to the amoeba's locomotion through the formation of a pseudopod. However, other types of cells have cytoplasm divided into endo- and ectoplasm. The endoplasm, along with its granules, contains water, nucleic acids amino acids, carbohydrates, inorganic ions, lipids, enzymes, and other molecular compounds. It is the site of most cellular processes as it houses the organelles that make up the endomembrane system, as well as those that stand alone. The endoplasm is necessary for most metabolic activities, including cell division.

Viral eukaryogenesis is the hypothesis that the cell nucleus of eukaryotic life forms evolved from a large DNA virus in a form of endosymbiosis within a methanogenic archaeon. The virus later evolved into the eukaryotic nucleus by acquiring genes from the host genome and eventually usurping its role. The hypothesis was proposed by Philip Bell in 2001 and gained support as large, complex DNA viruses capable of protein biosynthesis were discovered. Recent supporting evidence includes the discovery that, upon the infection of a bacterial cell, the giant bacteriophage 201Phi2-1 assembles a nucleus-like structure that segregates proteins according to function. This nucleus-like structure and its key properties have been found conserved in the related phages.

Cellular compartments in cell biology comprise all of the closed parts within the cytosol of a eukaryotic cell, usually surrounded by a single or double lipid layer membrane. These compartments are often, but not always, defined as membrane enclosed regions. The formation of cellular compartments is called compartmentalization.

Cell physiology study of cell activity

Cell physiology is the biological study about the activities that take place in a cell to keep it alive. This includes, among animal cells, plant cells and microorganisms. The term "physiology" refers to all the normal functions that take place in a living organism. All of these activities in the cell could be counted as following ; nutrition, environmental response, cell growth, cell division, reproduction and differentiation. The differences among the animal cell, plant cell and microorganisms shows the essential functional similarity even though those cells have different structures. Absorption of water by roots, production of food in the leaves, and growth of shoots towards light are examples of plant physiology. The heterotrophic metabolism of food derived from plants and animals and the use of movement to obtain nutrients are characteristic of animal physiology.

Outline of cell biology Overview of and topical guide to cell biology

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to cell biology:

Prokaryote Group of organisms whose cells lack a cell nucleus

A prokaryote is a unicellular organism that lacks a membrane-bound nucleus, mitochondria, or any other membrane-bound organelle. The word prokaryote comes from the Greek πρό (pro) "before" and κάρυον (karyon) "nut or kernel". Prokaryotes are divided into two domains, Archaea and Bacteria. Species with nuclei and organelles are placed in the third domain, Eukaryota. Prokaryotes reproduce without fusion of gametes. The first living organisms are thought to have been prokaryotes.

Organism Any individual living physical entity

In biology, an organism is any individual entity that propagates the properties of life. It is a synonym for "life form".

Evolution of cells The evolutionary origin and subsequent development of cells

Evolution of cells refers to the evolutionary origin and subsequent evolutionary development of cells. Cells first emerged at least 3.8 billion years ago.

This glossary of biology terms is a list of definitions of fundamental terms and concepts used in biology, the study of life and of living organisms. It is intended as introductory material for novices; for more specific and technical definitions from sub-disciplines and related fields, see Glossary of genetics, Glossary of ecology, Glossary of speciation, Glossary of botany, and Glossary of scientific naming.

A plastid is a membrane-bound organelle found in plants, algae and other eukaryotic organisms that contribute to the production of pigment molecules. Most plastids are photosynthetic, thus leading to color production and energy storage or production. There are many types of plastids in plants alone, but all plastids can be separated based on the number of times they have undergone endosymbiotic events. Currently there are three types of plastids; primary, secondary and tertiary. Endosymbiosis is reputed to have led to the evolution of eukaryotic organisms today, although the timeline is highly debated.

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Notes

  1. An approximation made for someone who is 30 years old, weighs 70 kilograms (150 lb), and is 172 centimetres (5.64 ft) tall. [4] The approximation is not exact, this study estimated that the number of cells was 3.72±0.81×1013. [4]

Further reading