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Transcript of Animal Cells
By: Dylan Butterfield
The cell’s nucleus is one of the easiest organelles to identify when looking at a eukaryotic cell under a microscope. It is large, usually close to the center, and it contains a tangled mass of chromatin that appears darker than its surroundings.
The nucleus contains most of the cell’s genetic information, its DNA, which orchestrates the structure and function of the cell. Inside the nucleus, the cell’s DNA and some proteins are packed together into chromosomes.
Cytoplasm and Cytoskeleton
Cytoplasm is the thick fluid that fills up a cell and surrounds all of the organelles. It is a mixture of water and dissolved salts, ions, and organic molecules. Many of these substances are involved in reactions that occur within the cytoplasm, while others are transported to various organelles to be used.
With improved microscope technology, they discovered a network of fibers throughout the cell, which they called the cytoskeleton. The functions of the cytoskeleton are comparable to the bones and muscles of our bodies.
Ribosomes are the locations for protein synthesis within a cell. They are generally considered to be the cell’s smallest organelles, and they generally look like small dots through a microscope.
Ribosomes are made up of RNA and protein molecules. Although they appear like tiny dots under a microscope, ribosomes consist of two separate parts. Long protein chains are assembled between the two parts of the ribosome.
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The cell membrane, also called the plasma membrane, surrounds the cell.
Each organelle inside a eukaryotic cell is surrounded by a membrane.
The membrane acts as a selective barrier.
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a maze of membranes so long that it accounts for more than half of the total membrane found in the cell. It is divided into two distinct sections of ER that differ in structure and function.
The rough endoplasmic reticulum appears rough because its surface is covered by small ribosomes. These ribosomes synthesize proteins, and the membrane of the rough ER keeps those proteins separate from the rest of the cell. In addition to making and storing proteins, the rough ER makes its own proteins and phospholipids to add to its membrane. This is important because portions of the ER’s membrane are pinched off to form sealed sacs called transport vesicles. These vesicles carry the newly made proteins from the rough ER to the cell’s Golgi apparatus.
The smooth endoplasmic reticulum does not have any ribosomes on its membrane. Its specific functions vary depending on the specializations of the cell in which it is located. The smooth ER participates in various metabolic processes, including the construction of lipids, the deconstruction of carbohydrates, and the detoxification of substances that may otherwise be harmful to the cell.
The Golgi apparatus is made up of stacks of membrane sacs. Transport vesicles, carrying proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum, enter the Golgi apparatus to be modified and stored. Eventually, these proteins are sent on to their final destinations inside or outside of the cell.
Vesicles that bud off of the endoplasmic reticulum attach to the Golgi apparatus’s membrane. The membrane and contents of the transport vesicle become incorporated into the Golgi apparatus, where the protein contents are then modified and stored. At the other end of the Golgi apparatus, new vesicles will form and be pinched off to carry materials to other sites in the cell as needed.
A lysosome is a membrane sac that contains enzymes. These enzymes are used to digest or break down large molecules into smaller molecules to be used by the cell. Lysosomes and the enzymes they contain are both made in the rough endoplasmic reticulum and then transferred to the Golgi apparatus for further processing.
Vacuoles are membrane-enclosed sacs that serve a variety of storage functions. Food vacuoles store food and nutrients that pass through the cell membrane, while water vacuoles store water, minerals, and ions. Some single-celled organisms that live in water have contractile vacuoles that act as small pumps to remove some of the water from the cell.
A mitochondrion is enclosed in a layer of two membranes. The inner layer has folds in the membrane, called cristae, while the outer layer is smooth. This structure suits its functions well because the folds in the inner membrane provide additional surface area on which important reactions occur, allowing each mitochondrion to do more work.
Mitochondria are often called the powerhouse of the cell. They are organelles that act like the cell’s digestive system, taking in nutrients and breaking them down. The chemical reactions that break down the nutrients release energy to power the cell. One of the most important reactions that occur in the mitochondria is called cellular respiration, a process that uses molecules like glucose to release forms of energy that can be used by the cell.