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    Cell Structure

    In the study of cell biology, which is based on understanding all properties of a cell, cell structure is a critical topic as this details the anatomy of a cell. In order to fully understand the processes carried out by a cell, such as cellular respiration, and how a cell interacts with its environment, analyzing cell structure is an important first step.

    When analyzing the structure of a cell, a cell can be broken up into different groups. One of these groups can be thought of as the cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is the intracellular space of a cell, which is fluid in nature. It is within the cytoplasm that all of the vital organelles within a cell reside. For example, the endoplasmic reticulum and vacuoles are two organelles present within the cytoplasm of a eukaryotic cell.

    Considering how the nucleus controls the entire cell and is such a powerful and vital organelle, it can be thought of as its own group. The nucleus not only controls all cellular activities, but it contains the entire cell genome.

    Finally, the outer surface of a cell can be thought of as another group. This includes the cell membrane and cell wall. All cells contain a cell membrane, whereas not all cells possess a cell wall. A cell wall is found in all plants, along with some archaea, bacteria, fungi and algae. Clearly, cell structure does vary between different cell types. For example, prokaryotic cells are much simpler in nature and have a more primitive structure compared to eukaryotic cells.

    Cell structure is a fundamental topic in biology. Understanding the cell structure of different cell types is imperative to many biological fields such as medicine, immunology and molecular biology. Through continued research, further advancements can be made in fully understanding the anatomy, biochemistry and physiology of a cell. 

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    BrainMass Categories within Cell Structure

    Cell Membranes and Cell Walls

    Solutions: 53

    Membranes are cellular structures which separate the interior and exterior compartments of a cell or individual organelle, whereas the cell wall is required for structural support in only selective cell types.


    Solutions: 5

    The cytoskeleton is found within the cytoplasm of a cell and is fundamental to the functioning and structure of a cell.

    Cell Nucleus

    Solutions: 6

    The nucleus of a cell is a membrane-bound organelle situated within the cytoplasm and can be thought of as the “brain” of a cell.

    Intracellular Compartment

    Solutions: 0

    The term intracellular compartment refers to the region which lies inside of the cell membrane and includes all of the organelles which are present within this domain.

    Mitochondria and Chloroplasts

    Solutions: 1

    Mitochondria and chloroplasts are membrane-bound organelles which are responsible for carrying out vital cellular functions: cellular respiration and photosynthesis.


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