According to the cell theory postulates, “A cell is the basic structural and functional unit of any living organism”. The cell has been introduced to all of us as the basic building blocks of life. A brick is to the building, the cell is to body. It makes anything alive and is self-sufficient to carry out all the fundamental functions of an organism. The cellular components called Cell Organelles are responsible for this. Let’s have a glimpse of different cell organelles and their functions.
Cell organelles are different structures present within cells. All these structures are special and specific to their functions. All cells have three main constituents i.e., plasma membrane, nucleus, and cytoplasm. The cell membrane or plasma membrane is a bi-lipid membranous layer, separating the cell organelles from its external environment as well as from the other cells. The cytoplasm is a jelly-like substance in which the cell organelles are embedded. Lastly, the nucleus is the largest organelle. It is the remote control of a cell.The whole cellular content of a living cell is called protoplasm. As we had gone through the cell membrane and cytoplasm in previous articles, here we will discuss nucleus and the other cell organelles.
The nucleus is the control centre of the cell activities. It is the king of organelles where all decisions are taken. By structure, the nucleus is dark and round, surrounded by a nuclear membrane. It is a porous membrane (like cell membrane) and is a wall between cytoplasm and nucleus. Within the nucleus, there are tiny spherical bodies called nucleolus. It also carries another essential structure, called chromosomes. Chromosomes are thin, the thread-like structures which carry another important structure called a gene. Genes are hereditary unit an organism i.e., it helps in the inheritance of traits from one generation (parents) to another (offspring). Hence, nucleus controls the characters and functions of cells in our body.
Vacuoles are mostly defined as storage bubbles of irregular shapes which are found in cells. They are fluid-filled organelles enclosed by a membrane. The vacuole stores the food or a variety of nutrients that a cell might need to survive. In addition to this, it also stores waste products. The waste products are eventually thrown out by vacuoles. Thus, the rest of the cell is protected from contamination. The plant cells and animal cells have different size and number of vacuoles. In plant cells, vacuoles are much larger than in animal cells.
The chloroplast is a unique cell organelle which is present only in plant cells. The chloroplast is the answer to the green colour of the leaves and the photosynthetic ability of plants. Plant cells have tiny, coloured structures called plastids. Plastids carry pigments of various colours like orange, red, green and even colourless. The plastids which carry green-coloured pigments i.e., chlorophyll are called chloroplasts. Thus, the chloroplasts give a green colour to the leaves and carry out photosynthesis in plants. Some leaves have other colours because of the other coloured plastids they contain.
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