3 Substances That Need To Be Transported Into Animal Cells Structure and Function of Cell Nucleus, ER, Ribosomes and Golgi Apparatus

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Structure and Function of Cell Nucleus, ER, Ribosomes and Golgi Apparatus

Endoplasmic reticulum

The structure of the endoplasmic reticulum

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a type of organelle within a cell. The ER is a network of tubes filled with fluid. There are two types of ER, rough and smooth. A cell can have both or just one, depending on its function.

• The rough ER is fused to the nuclear membrane. Its outer surface is filled with ribosomes (organelles involved in the formation of proteins).

• Smooth ER is continuous with rough ER but has no ribosomes.

Functions of the endoplasmic reticulum Rough ER

• Produces the building blocks of cell membranes (phospholipids and cholesterol).

• Helps in the production and transport of proteins.

• The outer face provides a site for chemical reactions.

Protein synthesis and transport

1 Ribosomes in the rough wall of the ER produce protein filaments.

2 Within the lumen, protein strands fold into distinct shapes unique to their chemical structure, identifying them as specific proteins.

3 Sugars can be added to proteins to form glycoproteins.

4 The completed proteins are enclosed in membrane vesicles (small membrane sacs), which leave the ER and travel to other locations in the cell.

Smooth ER Enzymes (biological catalysts) embedded in the walls of its membrane are involved in chemical reactions related to:

• creation of cholesterol;

• creation of sex hormones (steroids, hormones produced from cholesterol);

• fat processing;

• detoxification of poisons; AND

• contraction of muscle cells.

Ribosomes Location and structure

Ribosomes are organelles found inside a human cell. They are also found in all other plant and animal cells. Ribosomes are used to decode DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) into proteins.

They are small, round granules.

Ribosomes are located in the rough endoplasmic reticulum (giving it its “rough” appearance). They are also found individually throughout the cytoplasm.

Close to the core

Ribosomes are most visible in the rough ER, where most of the cell’s proteins are made. Ribosomes read molecules of mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid), a type of nucleic acid copied from the cell’s DNA, that are carried from the nucleus through the ER lumen.

Decoders

Ribosomes have two parts, a large and a small subunit. They are composed of rRNA (ribosomal ribonucleic acid) and protein. Each ribosome is just over 20 nm in diameter and 30 nm in height.

The mRNA molecules pass between the two units. At this point the three-letter code of the mRNA is translated.

Functions of ribosomes

When held between ribosomal subunits, the single strand of mRNA comes into contact with another type of nucleic acid called tRNA (transfer RNA).

tRNA molecules are coded to bind to specific amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

mRNA codes for specific amino acids using three-letter “words” or codons. The letters in each word correspond to bases, separate units lined up along the RNA molecule. The bases are guanine (G), cytosine (C), adenine (A) and uracil (U). The four bases form opposite pairs: G with C and A with U. Therefore, each mRNA codon is linked to a corresponding tRNA molecule consisting of opposite bases. In doing so, the tRNA places the correct amino acid in the correct position for the protein being produced.

Free ribosomes (those not bound to the rough ER) are involved in the production of proteins, such as enzymes, to be used by the cell itself. Membrane-bound ribosomes (those attached to the rough ER) are primarily involved in the production of proteins that will be used in the cell membrane or exported out of the cell.

Golgi apparatus

The Golgi apparatus, or complex, is an organelle found in most human cells.

It is usually located near the nucleus in the center of the cell. It is named after the 19th-century Italian anatomist Camillo Golgi, and is related to the secretion of substances from the cell.

• The Golgi apparatus is a stack of four to six flat, membrane-enclosed, disc-shaped sacs known as cisternae.

Stacked cisterns resemble a pile of dishes.

• A large number of membranous vesicles (small membrane sacs) surround each Golgi apparatus. Most vesicles are located on the side of the Golgi apparatus closer to the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER).

• Each Golgi stack has two “faces” or sides. The cis face is on one side and the trans face is on the other. Generally, the cis face faces towards the rough ER and the trans face towards the cell (plasma) membrane surrounding the cell. These faces are functionally and biochemically different, and contain very different enzymes (biological catalysts).

• Each page is connected to its own network of branching and interconnected pipes (small pipes).

These are known as the cis-Golgi and trans-Golgi networks.

• Proteins and lipids travel from the ER to the cis site in vesicles, where they enter cisternae. These substances are then released through the trans face into other vesicles.

core

The structure of the nucleus

The nucleus is usually located in the center of a cell. Its shape often mirrors the shape of the cell. For example, flat cells have flat nuclei.

A core consists of:

of nuclear envelope. This is composed of two membranes. Like cell membranes, each nuclear membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer—two layers of phospholipid molecules.

• Nuclear poresAt certain points, nuclear membranes fuse to form holes in the nuclear envelope.

• Nucleoplasm This is a gel-like fluid that contains vital chemicals, such as nutrients and salts. The nucleus and chromatin are suspended in the nucleoplasm.

• Chromatin A dark amorphous area core made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) strands. DNA is wrapped around histone proteins made up of chromatin fibers.

A cluster of eight histones on a DNA strand comprises a nucleosome.

Normally, chromatin is not visible under a light microscope. However, during cell division, chromatin condenses to form chromosomes, which are visible under a light microscope.

• Core This is a compact ball of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and protein. There is no outer membrane. Each core has one or more cores.

Core forms

Nuclei in different cells have a variety of shapes.

Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, have no nuclei at all. Different white blood cells (leukocytes) have unusual nuclei. Neutrophils have multilobed nuclei.

Eosinophils have only two lobes. The nucleus of a basophilic cell is difficult to see behind the histamine granules it contains.

Lymphocytes are small cells and their nuclei fill almost the entire cell.

Monocytes are very large cells. Their kernels are often bean-shaped.

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