A cell is the basic unit of life, and all organisms on earth are made up of cells. The animal cell is a member of the Eukaryotes, which are complex multi-cellular organisms(Eukaryote). This type of cell is also enclosed within a membrane. Animal cells can come in different shapes depending on how they are covered by the cell membrane. The animal cell is composed of many different parts, which are called organelles. Examples of organelles include the cell membrane, nucleus and cytoplasm. Each organelle plays an essential part to keeping the cell in tact.

The most important organelle is the nucleus. The nucleus is the sphere in the center of the cell which contains many of the organelles. The nucleus essentially acts as the control center of the cell. If the nucleus is removed from the cell, then the cell will die instantly. Along with being the control center, the nucleus is also the largest organelle in the cell. Surrounding the nucleus is the nuclear membrane. The nuclear membrane is two membranes, with the same center which basically separate the nucleus from the cytoplasm. Within the nucleus is the nucleolus, which is a structure solely, formed with the purpose of creating Ribosomal RNA. Ribosomal RNA is the device which plays an important role in the structure and functioning of the ribosome (Definition of Ribosomal RNA).

Another important part of the animal cell is the ribosome. Ribosomes are a combination of nucleic acid, or RNA and protein in the cell. Ribosomes take the form of small little granules, which are very rich in terms of RNA (Animal Cell Anatomy). Ribosomes are essential to the cell because they are the site of protein synthesis, which is the creation of protein using both DNA and RNA. The ribosome basically maintains the cell’s health through protein synthesis.

Another important part to the cell of an animal is the lysosome. The lysosome is commonly found in animal cells and less common to plant cells (Lysosomes, Peroxisomes, Secretory Vesicles). The lysosome is a round organelle which is just inside of the cell membrane. The lysosome itself is also surrounded by a membrane. The lysosome’s main function to the cell is that it contains digestive enzymes. These enzymes within the lysosome break up the ingested nutrients and distribute them amongst the cell. Another term used to describe a lysosome is vesicle.

Also contained within an animal cell are the vacuole and the mitochondrion. The vacuole is basically the waste management center of the cell. A vacuole is defined as “fluid filled, membrane-surrounded cavities inside a cell” (Animal Cell Anatomy). Over time a vacuole will become filled with different items coming in and out of the cell. First off, the vacuole receives food which is waiting to be digested by the enzymes within the lysosomes. While the vacuole becomes full with food which is on its way into the cell, at the same time it is also being filled with waste which no longer serves a purpose, and is on its way out of the cell. Along with the vacuole, there is also the mitochondrion. The mitochondrion is the area for energy storage within the cell. The mitochondrion can be either sphere, or oval shaped. Unique to the mitochondrion is the fact that they contain a double-membrane. The inner-membrane of the mitochondria is folded inward many times to form “projections”, or cristae (Animal Cell Anatomy). In a cell it is common to find glucose, which has a high amount of energy stored in it. It is the job of the mitochondrion to take this stored energy and convert it to ATP for the cell to use. The mitochondrion can also be found at many different spots within an animal cell.

Another essential organelle in the cell is the cytoplasm. The cytoplasm is a jelly-like substance which fills a cell. The cytoplasm generally remains thick, but it can become more of a liquid if it is shaken or stirred (Cytoplasm). The cytoplasm is composed of three main parts. This includes the cytosol, organelles, and inclusions. The cytosol is the parts of the cell which are not enclosed within a membrane. The cytosol makes up approximately 70% of the volume of the cell. The second part of the cytoplasm is the organelles. Organelles as shown are the membrane bound structures within the cell. Examples of these are lysosomes, mitochondria, and vacuoles. Finally, within a cytoplasm there are inclusions. Inclusions are small particles in the cytosol, which are insoluble. An example of an inclusion is a lipid droplet. This is a sphere-shaped droplet which is made up primarily of proteins and lipids and is used for the storage of items such as fatty acids.

The final major part of an animal cell is the cell membrane. The cell membrane is a thin layer of protein and fat which surrounds the cell (Animal Cell Anatomy). It is also semi-permeable, which means that it deciphers which substances should be let into the cell. It has the option of choosing what should and should not be let into the cell. This is important for allowing the cell to survive. In an animal cell, the function of a cell membrane is to separate the items within a cell, from everything outside the cell. The cell membrane also plays a very important role with the cytoskeleton in determining the shape of a cell. The cell membrane plays a vital role in helping group a bunch of cells together in order to form tissues. The cell membrane basically acts as the last line of defense in order to protect the cell from wastes and other harmful things entering.

The makeup and functioning of the animal cell is a very interesting topic. The cell is fascinating in the sense how each little part of the cell plays its part in order to contribute to the cell’s functioning. The cell membrane plays a big part in the protection of the cell. The cytoplasm fills the cell with a jelly-like substance in order to contain everything. The vacuole, deals with waste management, and the mitochondrion help deliver energy. This is all extremely significant to us, as this functioning of the animal cell is occurring in all of our bodies, all of the time. These parts of the animal cell define not only animal life, but human life as well.

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