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  • Writer's pictureCaden Leung

Breaking It Down: A Quick List of Animal Cell Parts

Courtesy of Wix Media

With the holiday season around, the airports are going to be packed with many travelers going on vacation.

But, what does that have anything to do with a cell?

You see, a cell is essentially a microscopic airport where there are many components that each have its own function.

In order to accommodate the large amount of travelers, each component of the airport must be doing its own function to ensure that everything runs smoothly.


Before we break down the parts of a cell, keep in mind that there are 2 types of cells: eukaryotic and prokaryotic.

This article will be discussing the parts in eukaryotic cells.

Prokaryotic cells don't have most of these parts --- Poor cells!

Let's fly into it!


1) Cell Membrane

If you've ever been to an airport, you'll know that they have many security scanners and gadgets to scan you. And I mean A LOT!

The purpose of this is to make sure that you are safe to enter the airport!

The cell membrane has the same function; it allows certain things into the cell and whatever it doesn't like, it kicks out!


2) Cytoplasm

The cytoplasm is a jelly-like fluid that is found throughout the cell.

It's similar to the air in the airport!

However, the function is a little bit different. The cytoplasm's function is to keep the organelles in their place!


3) Nucleus

Around the runways of the airport, there is this massive, tall tower that controls the airport. It is in charge of how the airport functions such as the planes moving in and out.

The nucleus's function is nearly identical to the control tower since its job is to control the "jobs" of each part/organelle in the cell!


4) Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)

And before anyone mentions it....

The answer is no, (ER) in this case is not the place where you go to when you're injured or sick.

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is similar to the luggage conveyor belt -- it helps to carry your luggage from one place to another.

In a cell, the endoplasmic reticulum acts as a highway within a cell, usually for material transport.

There are two main types of this organelle: the rough ER and smooth ER.

The rough ER has ribosomes (protein kitchens) attached to them and helps to process and transport proteins.

The smooth ER does not have ribosomes but makes lipids and breaks down toxic substances.

If you don't know what lipids are, go ahead and check out my macromolecule article here!


5) Ribosomes

General Knowledge Quiz: Where is food made?

That's right, the kitchen!

Ribosomes are similar to kitchens because that's where the proteins are made.

Kitchens make food and ribosomes make protein! Simple enough?

Also, note that ribosomes are ONLY found attached to the ROUGH endoplasmic reticulum.


6) Mitochondria

Come on, fill in the blanks: "The mitochondria is the _____house of the cell!"

Answer: Power

The mitochondria in a cell helps to give the cell energy to function.

In the airport analogy, this would represent the electricity area which gives the airport power (lights, batteries, etc.) to function.


7) Lysosomes

Lysosomes are garbage cans for cells. They contain enzymes that help to break down the trash.


8) Vacuoles

Vacuoles can be compared to fuel tanks at an airport. It helps to hold the fuel for the airplane until they need it.

But wait, is the mitochondria and vacuole the same? NO!

The mitochondria makes energy which helps power the cell, while the vacuole stores extra materials such as energy until the cell needs it.

Essentially, the vacuole is like a storage unit.


9) Vesicles

Ever gotten a package whether it was for a birthday gift or holiday present?

Well, vesicles are like little packages inside of a cell ready to be delivered.

These vesicles are sent out of the cell through something known as exocytosis.

Exocytosis means that something is being "spit out" from the cell.

These can be compared to airplanes. An airplane holds things ranging from passengers, luggage, and even coffins!

Once an airplane is filled, it will take off from Airport A to Airport B.


10) Golgi Apparatus/Body

The golgi apparatus is like the person(s) who put your luggage onto the plane. They are preparing the vesicle/package to be sent out of the cell.

In other words, they are loading everything onto the plane to prepare for takeoff.


There you have it: the basics parts of the cell!

With this concept under your belt, you're not only able to ace your tests, but you're also able to apply it to real-life scenarios to save you a TON of time!

🎁 PSST! We have FREE group sessions (Click me) ranging from middle-high school math to high-school biology!

I'll show you the key strategies you NEED to implement to study less and practice more, ace your assessments, and ultimately understand challenging concepts that have been broken down into simple ideas by me!

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I'll be making a YouTube video soon about the parts of cells so stay tuned!


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