Cytoplasm: Definition, Function, and Example

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What is Cytoplasm?

We all know that cells are the basic, structural and functional units of all living organisms.

Cells are made up of many organelles and they are bound embedded in the cytoplasm.

It plays a very important role in functioning of the cell and also contains the genetic information of the cell, as it contains chromosomes in it.

The term cytoplasm was first coined by Rudolf Von Kolliker, a Swiss biologist.

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"Cytoplasm is contained within cells in the space between the cell membrane and the nuclear membrane"

Cytoplasm is considered as the fluid compartment of the cell, which contains cytosolic filaments, ion substances, proteins and other macromolecular substances. Along which the other cell organelles are found suspended.

The Eukaryotic cytoplasm contains all the cell organelles found embedded in it except the nucleus.

The prokaryotic cytoplasm is found throughout the cell carrying its genetic material as the prokaryotic organism does not have its well- defined nucleus.

Does Cytoplasm Have Any Structure?

Cytoplasm doesn’t have a specific structure its just a jelly or glassy liquid like substance which fills up the space in each cells volume and make the other cell organelles being embedded in it and provides a better environment for the organelles and genetic materials to carry out their function.

Cytoplasm Vs Cytosol

In biology, Cytoplasm is often confused with cytosol due to their similarity in understanding of these words.

Cytoplasm is the liquid part of the cell which is found outside or around the nucleus.

Where as Cytosol is denoted as the substances or proteins which are found in the cytoplasm apart from other cell organelles.

Protoplasm Vs Cytoplasm

The protoplasm is jelly like substance, which is composed of macromolecules and water.

It is actually a colorless living part of the cell. It can be generally known as the organic or inorganic substance which is made up of cytoplasm, nucleus, mitochondria and plastids of a cell, which play a major role in functioning of the cell.

Thus, cytoplasm is a part of a protoplasm which is placed in between the nucleus and the cell membrane in all eukaryotic cells. Where the organelles are embedded in it.

Function of Cytoplasm

Cytoplasm provides a suitable environment for all other cell organelles to maintain their turgidity which helps them to maintain their shape.

The fluid form of the cytoplasm is made up of salts and water which form a jelly like structure and helps the other cell organelles to embed themselves in that space.

The Cytoplasm also acts as a center for other cell organelles to perform their function, as it contains many enzymes and molecules which helps them to perform their metabolic reactions.

As cytoplasm helps the cell organelles to fit it into, so that they cannot move here and there and fix themselves in their origins, if not there is a high chance of mixing up of molecules of one organelle into the other which results in change in body functioning.

The fluid matrix of the cytoplasm which is known as cytosol has no organelle, so it fills up the space which is left out by the organelles.

Cytoplasm also paves the role for many cellular functions to occur in it where the ribosomes synthesize their proteins and the process of cellular respiration takes by initiating glycolysis and reproduction of cell phases like mitosis and meiosis occurs.

Cytoplasmic Streaming

Cytoplasmic streaming is often referred to as cyclosis by which the molecules or substances present in the cell are circulating within the cell.

Cyclosis mostly occur in all types of cells such as Plant cells, in bacteria and fungi.

But these movements change accordingly with the type of chemicals and hormones present in it and also according to the temperature and humidity of the cell.

Plants perform cyclosis to settle the chloroplast in the area, where we can get suitable sunlight.

Whereas chloroplast is a very important and essential component in performing the photosynthesis which help the plant to stay alive.

Whereas in protists such as slime molds and amoeba the cyclosis movement is used for the locomotion.

These temporary movement of cells is termed as pseudopodia which helps the cell in capturing the food.

Cyclosis also helps the cell in cell division processes where the daughter cells are divided by the process of mitosis and meiosis.

Other Features of Cytoplasm

As discussed above cytoplasm is a glassy liquid substance which contains all the cell organelles and other substances except the nucleus.

The eukaryotic cytoplasm is present between the cell membrane and the nucleus of the cell, where as in prokaryotes cytoplasm just acts as a covering to all the substances in a cell membrane.

However, in both the cases the role of cytoplasm is to carry all the metabolism and growth and functions of all other organelles present in a cell.

The organelles present in the cytoplasm perform various functions, where as the nucleus contains the genetic information and helps in caring our hereditary characters throughout the generations.

Mitochondria which is found embedded in the cytoplasm acts as a powerhouse of the cell producing Adenosine tri phosphate.

The chloroplast present in plants cell helps in performing photosynthesis.

Likewise, each cell organelles perform various functions, but without the help of cytoplasm which provides them a good outer condition by providing proper humidity and other conditions, these cells cannot undergo their functions.

The cytosol which acts as a fluid part of the cell, consisting of 70% of water and other molecules including ion particles such as chloride, potassium, bicarbonate magnesium and calcium serves as a site for many chemical reactions.

Cytosol also plays an important role in cell signaling and osmoregulation by inducing action potentials such that of nerve and muscle cells.

Cytoplasmic Biochemical Reactions

Basically, cytoplasm acts as a center for many biochemical reactions, the biochemical reactions are thereby classified as anabolic and catabolic reactions, where catabolism refer to a breakdown of complex molecules and anabolism refers to a synthesis of biomolecular substances with the help of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to form a complex substance.

Biological Functions of Cytoplasm

Cytoplasm acts as a center for both growth and metabolism, as said earlier it helps in both generation and degradation processes.

Whereas glycolysis, which is the first process in the cellular respiration occurs at a cytosol, the fluid component of the cell and this process for further followed by oxidative decarboxylation reaction and Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle and followed by electron transport chain.



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