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Intro to Anatomy 4: Cell Structure and Function
Intro to Anatomy 4: Cell Structure and Function
The Lone Ranger
Published by The Lone Ranger
Default Basic Cellular Structure

Basic Cellular Structure:
All cells have at least three components: a plasma membrane, genetic material, and cytoplasm.

The plasma membrane (or cell membrane) regulates the flow of materials into and out of the cell, allows interactions between cells, and protects the interior of the cell from the external environment.

The genetic material provides the “recipe” for making the enzymes and structural proteins that regulate cellular functions and make up much of the internal structure of the cell. In all living organisms, genetic material consists of the nucleic acid known as DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). A different nucleic acid, RNA (ribonucleic acid), is used to “translate” the information stored in DNA into proteins. (Many viruses use RNA as their primary genetic material, instead of DNA.) In eukaryotic cells, the DNA is contained within a structure called the nucleus of the cell.

The cytoplasm of the cell is the substance between the plasma membrane and the nucleus. The cytoplasm of a eukaryotic cell consists of various organelles embedded within cytosol. The organelles are smaller subunits within a cell that perform specific functions. The cytosol is a watery solution of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and electrolytes.

A generalized animal cell. Cells contain genetic material
and cytoplasm, and are enclosed by a plasma membrane.


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