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Do all human cells have all the same organelles?

Do all human cells have all the same organelles?


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I know that not all human cells have nuclei (erythrocytes eject theirs before they are fully matured), but do all human cells have all the other organelles? The two I'm particularly concerned with are the Golgi apparatus and lysosomes.


I believe that yes.

Here is more to read about: https://bscb.org/learning-resources/softcell-e-learning/golgi-apparatus/ "is found in all plant and animal cells"

and explanation why so https://sciencing.com/would-did-not-golgi-bodies-8657737.html

I am no expert in this but I was looking for it as well, I believe it is right.


The human body has about 37 trillion cells, comprising 200 different types. Each cell has structures responsible for making 100,000’s of different proteins from 20 types of amino acids. Despite this, the code to produce all of these cells and much more is stored in the DNA of (almost) every cell, and all cells come from the same cell.

Each of the 200 different types of cells has a unique function, but most produce proteins that perform many of a given person’s bodily functions.

  • Humans have about 37.2 trillion cells. [1]
  • There are 200 different types of cells. Within these cells, there are about 20 different types of structures or organelles (organs within a cell). Each organelle performs a different function. [1]
  • During a human’s lifetime, many cells will replace themselves every 7 – 15 years, but not all cells do this. Some replace themselves every few days or weeks others never replace themselves.

TIP: See a List of distinct cell types in the adult human body for more information on cell types and functions.


Types of Eukaryotic Cells

The four types of eukaryotic cells are animal cells, plant cells, fungi cells, and protists.

Animal Cells

Animal cells are the basic building blocks that make up all animals, including birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. Like eukaryotic cells, they contain membrane-bound organelles (such as a nucleus, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, and endoplasmic reticulum), and are surrounded by a plasma membrane.

Plant Cells

Plants are made up of plant cells. Plant cells contain many of the organelles common to all eukaryotes, but they contain additional structures that are not found in animal cells. For example, plant cells are surrounded by a tough, cellulose-based structure called the cell wall. They also contain organelles called chloroplasts, which are the site of photosynthesis and allow plant cells to produce carbohydrates from carbon dioxide, water, and light energy.

Fungi Cells

Protist Cells

Protists are a highly diverse group of organisms, and kingdom Protista is comprised of all eukaryotes that are not animals, plants, or fungi. Protist cells contain all of the membrane-bound organelles found in animal cells, and some types also contain chloroplasts. They may also have a cell wall made from cellulose.


Contents

Cells are of two types: eukaryotic, which contain a nucleus, and prokaryotic, which do not. Prokaryotes are single-celled organisms, while eukaryotes can be either single-celled or multicellular.

Prokaryotic cells

Prokaryotes include bacteria and archaea, two of the three domains of life. Prokaryotic cells were the first form of life on Earth, characterized by having vital biological processes including cell signaling. They are simpler and smaller than eukaryotic cells, and lack a nucleus, and other membrane-bound organelles. The DNA of a prokaryotic cell consists of a single circular chromosome that is in direct contact with the cytoplasm. The nuclear region in the cytoplasm is called the nucleoid. Most prokaryotes are the smallest of all organisms ranging from 0.5 to 2.0 μm in diameter. [13]

A prokaryotic cell has three regions:

  • Enclosing the cell is the cell envelope – generally consisting of a plasma membrane covered by a cell wall which, for some bacteria, may be further covered by a third layer called a capsule. Though most prokaryotes have both a cell membrane and a cell wall, there are exceptions such as Mycoplasma (bacteria) and Thermoplasma (archaea) which only possess the cell membrane layer. The envelope gives rigidity to the cell and separates the interior of the cell from its environment, serving as a protective filter. The cell wall consists of peptidoglycan in bacteria, and acts as an additional barrier against exterior forces. It also prevents the cell from expanding and bursting (cytolysis) from osmotic pressure due to a hypotonic environment. Some eukaryotic cells (plant cells and fungal cells) also have a cell wall.
  • Inside the cell is the cytoplasmic region that contains the genome (DNA), ribosomes and various sorts of inclusions. [4] The genetic material is freely found in the cytoplasm. Prokaryotes can carry extrachromosomal DNA elements called plasmids, which are usually circular. Linear bacterial plasmids have been identified in several species of spirochete bacteria, including members of the genus Borrelia notably Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease. [14] Though not forming a nucleus, the DNA is condensed in a nucleoid. Plasmids encode additional genes, such as antibiotic resistance genes.
  • On the outside, flagella and pili project from the cell's surface. These are structures (not present in all prokaryotes) made of proteins that facilitate movement and communication between cells.

Eukaryotic cells

Plants, animals, fungi, slime moulds, protozoa, and algae are all eukaryotic. These cells are about fifteen times wider than a typical prokaryote and can be as much as a thousand times greater in volume. The main distinguishing feature of eukaryotes as compared to prokaryotes is compartmentalization: the presence of membrane-bound organelles (compartments) in which specific activities take place. Most important among these is a cell nucleus, [4] an organelle that houses the cell's DNA. This nucleus gives the eukaryote its name, which means "true kernel (nucleus)". Other differences include:

  • The plasma membrane resembles that of prokaryotes in function, with minor differences in the setup. Cell walls may or may not be present.
  • The eukaryotic DNA is organized in one or more linear molecules, called chromosomes, which are associated with histone proteins. All chromosomal DNA is stored in the cell nucleus, separated from the cytoplasm by a membrane. [4] Some eukaryotic organelles such as mitochondria also contain some DNA.
  • Many eukaryotic cells are ciliated with primary cilia. Primary cilia play important roles in chemosensation, mechanosensation, and thermosensation. Each cilium may thus be "viewed as a sensory cellular antennae that coordinates a large number of cellular signaling pathways, sometimes coupling the signaling to ciliary motility or alternatively to cell division and differentiation." [15]
  • Motile eukaryotes can move using motile cilia or flagella. Motile cells are absent in conifers and flowering plants. [16] Eukaryotic flagella are more complex than those of prokaryotes. [17]

All cells, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, have a membrane that envelops the cell, regulates what moves in and out (selectively permeable), and maintains the electric potential of the cell. Inside the membrane, the cytoplasm takes up most of the cell's volume. All cells (except red blood cells which lack a cell nucleus and most organelles to accommodate maximum space for hemoglobin) possess DNA, the hereditary material of genes, and RNA, containing the information necessary to build various proteins such as enzymes, the cell's primary machinery. There are also other kinds of biomolecules in cells. This article lists these primary cellular components, then briefly describes their function.

Membrane

The cell membrane, or plasma membrane, is a biological membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell. In animals, the plasma membrane is the outer boundary of the cell, while in plants and prokaryotes it is usually covered by a cell wall. This membrane serves to separate and protect a cell from its surrounding environment and is made mostly from a double layer of phospholipids, which are amphiphilic (partly hydrophobic and partly hydrophilic). Hence, the layer is called a phospholipid bilayer, or sometimes a fluid mosaic membrane. Embedded within this membrane is a macromolecular structure called the porosome the universal secretory portal in cells and a variety of protein molecules that act as channels and pumps that move different molecules into and out of the cell. [4] The membrane is semi-permeable, and selectively permeable, in that it can either let a substance (molecule or ion) pass through freely, pass through to a limited extent or not pass through at all. Cell surface membranes also contain receptor proteins that allow cells to detect external signaling molecules such as hormones.

Cytoskeleton

The cytoskeleton acts to organize and maintain the cell's shape anchors organelles in place helps during endocytosis, the uptake of external materials by a cell, and cytokinesis, the separation of daughter cells after cell division and moves parts of the cell in processes of growth and mobility. The eukaryotic cytoskeleton is composed of microtubules, intermediate filaments and microfilaments. In the cytoskeleton of a neuron the intermediate filaments are known as neurofilaments. There are a great number of proteins associated with them, each controlling a cell's structure by directing, bundling, and aligning filaments. [4] The prokaryotic cytoskeleton is less well-studied but is involved in the maintenance of cell shape, polarity and cytokinesis. [19] The subunit protein of microfilaments is a small, monomeric protein called actin. The subunit of microtubules is a dimeric molecule called tubulin. Intermediate filaments are heteropolymers whose subunits vary among the cell types in different tissues. But some of the subunit protein of intermediate filaments include vimentin, desmin, lamin (lamins A, B and C), keratin (multiple acidic and basic keratins), neurofilament proteins (NF–L, NF–M).

Genetic material

Two different kinds of genetic material exist: deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). Cells use DNA for their long-term information storage. The biological information contained in an organism is encoded in its DNA sequence. [4] RNA is used for information transport (e.g., mRNA) and enzymatic functions (e.g., ribosomal RNA). Transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules are used to add amino acids during protein translation.

Prokaryotic genetic material is organized in a simple circular bacterial chromosome in the nucleoid region of the cytoplasm. Eukaryotic genetic material is divided into different, [4] linear molecules called chromosomes inside a discrete nucleus, usually with additional genetic material in some organelles like mitochondria and chloroplasts (see endosymbiotic theory).

A human cell has genetic material contained in the cell nucleus (the nuclear genome) and in the mitochondria (the mitochondrial genome). In humans the nuclear genome is divided into 46 linear DNA molecules called chromosomes, including 22 homologous chromosome pairs and a pair of sex chromosomes. The mitochondrial genome is a circular DNA molecule distinct from the nuclear DNA. Although the mitochondrial DNA is very small compared to nuclear chromosomes, [4] it codes for 13 proteins involved in mitochondrial energy production and specific tRNAs.

Foreign genetic material (most commonly DNA) can also be artificially introduced into the cell by a process called transfection. This can be transient, if the DNA is not inserted into the cell's genome, or stable, if it is. Certain viruses also insert their genetic material into the genome.

Organelles

Organelles are parts of the cell which are adapted and/or specialized for carrying out one or more vital functions, analogous to the organs of the human body (such as the heart, lung, and kidney, with each organ performing a different function). [4] Both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells have organelles, but prokaryotic organelles are generally simpler and are not membrane-bound.

There are several types of organelles in a cell. Some (such as the nucleus and golgi apparatus) are typically solitary, while others (such as mitochondria, chloroplasts, peroxisomes and lysosomes) can be numerous (hundreds to thousands). The cytosol is the gelatinous fluid that fills the cell and surrounds the organelles.

Eukaryotic

  • Cell nucleus: A cell's information center, the cell nucleus is the most conspicuous organelle found in a eukaryotic cell. It houses the cell's chromosomes, and is the place where almost all DNA replication and RNA synthesis (transcription) occur. The nucleus is spherical and separated from the cytoplasm by a double membrane called the nuclear envelope. The nuclear envelope isolates and protects a cell's DNA from various molecules that could accidentally damage its structure or interfere with its processing. During processing, DNA is transcribed, or copied into a special RNA, called messenger RNA (mRNA). This mRNA is then transported out of the nucleus, where it is translated into a specific protein molecule. The nucleolus is a specialized region within the nucleus where ribosome subunits are assembled. In prokaryotes, DNA processing takes place in the cytoplasm. [4]
  • Mitochondria and chloroplasts: generate energy for the cell. Mitochondria are self-replicating organelles that occur in various numbers, shapes, and sizes in the cytoplasm of all eukaryotic cells. [4]Respiration occurs in the cell mitochondria, which generate the cell's energy by oxidative phosphorylation, using oxygen to release energy stored in cellular nutrients (typically pertaining to glucose) to generate ATP. Mitochondria multiply by binary fission, like prokaryotes. Chloroplasts can only be found in plants and algae, and they capture the sun's energy to make carbohydrates through photosynthesis.
  • Endoplasmic reticulum: The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a transport network for molecules targeted for certain modifications and specific destinations, as compared to molecules that float freely in the cytoplasm. The ER has two forms: the rough ER, which has ribosomes on its surface that secrete proteins into the ER, and the smooth ER, which lacks ribosomes. [4] The smooth ER plays a role in calcium sequestration and release.
  • Golgi apparatus: The primary function of the Golgi apparatus is to process and package the macromolecules such as proteins and lipids that are synthesized by the cell.
  • Lysosomes and peroxisomes: Lysosomes contain digestive enzymes (acid hydrolases). They digest excess or worn-out organelles, food particles, and engulfed viruses or bacteria. Peroxisomes have enzymes that rid the cell of toxic peroxides. The cell could not house these destructive enzymes if they were not contained in a membrane-bound system. [4]
  • Centrosome: the cytoskeleton organiser: The centrosome produces the microtubules of a cell – a key component of the cytoskeleton. It directs the transport through the ER and the Golgi apparatus. Centrosomes are composed of two centrioles, which separate during cell division and help in the formation of the mitotic spindle. A single centrosome is present in the animal cells. They are also found in some fungi and algae cells.
  • Vacuoles: Vacuoles sequester waste products and in plant cells store water. They are often described as liquid filled space and are surrounded by a membrane. Some cells, most notably Amoeba, have contractile vacuoles, which can pump water out of the cell if there is too much water. The vacuoles of plant cells and fungal cells are usually larger than those of animal cells.

Eukaryotic and prokaryotic

  • Ribosomes: The ribosome is a large complex of RNA and protein molecules. [4] They each consist of two subunits, and act as an assembly line where RNA from the nucleus is used to synthesise proteins from amino acids. Ribosomes can be found either floating freely or bound to a membrane (the rough endoplasmatic reticulum in eukaryotes, or the cell membrane in prokaryotes). [20]

Many cells also have structures which exist wholly or partially outside the cell membrane. These structures are notable because they are not protected from the external environment by the semipermeable cell membrane. In order to assemble these structures, their components must be carried across the cell membrane by export processes.

Cell wall

Many types of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells have a cell wall. The cell wall acts to protect the cell mechanically and chemically from its environment, and is an additional layer of protection to the cell membrane. Different types of cell have cell walls made up of different materials plant cell walls are primarily made up of cellulose, fungi cell walls are made up of chitin and bacteria cell walls are made up of peptidoglycan.

Prokaryotic

Capsule

A gelatinous capsule is present in some bacteria outside the cell membrane and cell wall. The capsule may be polysaccharide as in pneumococci, meningococci or polypeptide as Bacillus anthracis or hyaluronic acid as in streptococci. Capsules are not marked by normal staining protocols and can be detected by India ink or methyl blue which allows for higher contrast between the cells for observation. [21] : 87

Flagella

Flagella are organelles for cellular mobility. The bacterial flagellum stretches from cytoplasm through the cell membrane(s) and extrudes through the cell wall. They are long and thick thread-like appendages, protein in nature. A different type of flagellum is found in archaea and a different type is found in eukaryotes.

Fimbriae

A fimbria (plural fimbriae also known as a pilus, plural pili) is a short, thin, hair-like filament found on the surface of bacteria. Fimbriae are formed of a protein called pilin (antigenic) and are responsible for the attachment of bacteria to specific receptors on human cells (cell adhesion). There are special types of pili involved in bacterial conjugation.

Replication

Cell division involves a single cell (called a mother cell) dividing into two daughter cells. This leads to growth in multicellular organisms (the growth of tissue) and to procreation (vegetative reproduction) in unicellular organisms. Prokaryotic cells divide by binary fission, while eukaryotic cells usually undergo a process of nuclear division, called mitosis, followed by division of the cell, called cytokinesis. A diploid cell may also undergo meiosis to produce haploid cells, usually four. Haploid cells serve as gametes in multicellular organisms, fusing to form new diploid cells.

DNA replication, or the process of duplicating a cell's genome, [4] always happens when a cell divides through mitosis or binary fission. This occurs during the S phase of the cell cycle.

In meiosis, the DNA is replicated only once, while the cell divides twice. DNA replication only occurs before meiosis I. DNA replication does not occur when the cells divide the second time, in meiosis II. [22] Replication, like all cellular activities, requires specialized proteins for carrying out the job. [4]

DNA repair

In general, cells of all organisms contain enzyme systems that scan their DNA for damages and carry out repair processes when damages are detected. [23] Diverse repair processes have evolved in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. The widespread prevalence of these repair processes indicates the importance of maintaining cellular DNA in an undamaged state in order to avoid cell death or errors of replication due to damages that could lead to mutation. E. coli bacteria are a well-studied example of a cellular organism with diverse well-defined DNA repair processes. These include: (1) nucleotide excision repair, (2) DNA mismatch repair, (3) non-homologous end joining of double-strand breaks, (4) recombinational repair and (5) light-dependent repair (photoreactivation).

Growth and metabolism

Between successive cell divisions, cells grow through the functioning of cellular metabolism. Cell metabolism is the process by which individual cells process nutrient molecules. Metabolism has two distinct divisions: catabolism, in which the cell breaks down complex molecules to produce energy and reducing power, and anabolism, in which the cell uses energy and reducing power to construct complex molecules and perform other biological functions. Complex sugars consumed by the organism can be broken down into simpler sugar molecules called monosaccharides such as glucose. Once inside the cell, glucose is broken down to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), [4] a molecule that possesses readily available energy, through two different pathways.

Protein synthesis

Cells are capable of synthesizing new proteins, which are essential for the modulation and maintenance of cellular activities. This process involves the formation of new protein molecules from amino acid building blocks based on information encoded in DNA/RNA. Protein synthesis generally consists of two major steps: transcription and translation.

Transcription is the process where genetic information in DNA is used to produce a complementary RNA strand. This RNA strand is then processed to give messenger RNA (mRNA), which is free to migrate through the cell. mRNA molecules bind to protein-RNA complexes called ribosomes located in the cytosol, where they are translated into polypeptide sequences. The ribosome mediates the formation of a polypeptide sequence based on the mRNA sequence. The mRNA sequence directly relates to the polypeptide sequence by binding to transfer RNA (tRNA) adapter molecules in binding pockets within the ribosome. The new polypeptide then folds into a functional three-dimensional protein molecule.

Motility

Unicellular organisms can move in order to find food or escape predators. Common mechanisms of motion include flagella and cilia.

In multicellular organisms, cells can move during processes such as wound healing, the immune response and cancer metastasis. For example, in wound healing in animals, white blood cells move to the wound site to kill the microorganisms that cause infection. Cell motility involves many receptors, crosslinking, bundling, binding, adhesion, motor and other proteins. [24] The process is divided into three steps – protrusion of the leading edge of the cell, adhesion of the leading edge and de-adhesion at the cell body and rear, and cytoskeletal contraction to pull the cell forward. Each step is driven by physical forces generated by unique segments of the cytoskeleton. [25] [26]

Navigation, control and communication

In August 2020, scientists described one way cells – in particular cells of a slime mold and mouse pancreatic cancer–derived cells – are able to navigate efficiently through a body and identify the best routes through complex mazes: generating gradients after breaking down diffused chemoattractants which enable them to sense upcoming maze junctions before reaching them, including around corners. [27] [28] [29]


ORGANELLES

Organelles are a common feature of eukaryotic cells. A wide range of different organelles has evolved over millions of years to perform various roles within cells. Some are widespread across most of the Eukaryota domain. Others are less common and only found in one or two groups of eukaryotes.

Important organelles include the nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplasts, and the endoplasmic reticulum. Mitochondria are involved in the process of cellular respiration where sugar is broken down and converted into cellular energy.

Chloroplasts are found in the cells of plants and other photosynthetic organisms. Inside chloroplasts are where plant cells are able to use energy from the sun to create sugars from carbon dioxide and water.

The endoplasmic reticulum is a network of membranes that are attached to the membrane of the nucleus. The endoplasmic reticulum is involved with many important tasks such as producing proteins and breaking down fats and carbohydrates.

For more information on cells check out these pages on our website:
Cells | Eukaryotic cells | Prokaryotic cells | Animal cells | Plant cells


Themes and Concepts of Biology

Biology is the science that studies life. What exactly is life? This may sound like a silly question with an obvious answer, but it is not easy to define life. For example, a branch of biology called virology studies viruses, which exhibit some of the characteristics of living entities but lack others. It turns out that although viruses can attack living organisms, cause diseases, and even reproduce, they do not meet the criteria that biologists use to define life.

From its earliest beginnings, biology has wrestled with four questions: What are the shared properties that make something “alive”? How do those various living things function? When faced with the remarkable diversity of life, how do we organize the different kinds of organisms so that we can better understand them? And, finally—what biologists ultimately seek to understand—how did this diversity arise and how is it continuing? As new organisms are discovered every day, biologists continue to seek answers to these and other questions.

Properties of Life

All groups of living organisms share several key characteristics or functions: order, sensitivity or response to stimuli, reproduction, adaptation, growth and development, regulation, homeostasis, and energy processing. When viewed together, these eight characteristics serve to define life.

Order

Organisms are highly organized structures that consist of one or more cells. Even very simple, single-celled organisms are remarkably complex. Inside each cell, atoms make up molecules. These in turn make up cell components or organelles. Multicellular organisms, which may consist of millions of individual cells, have an advantage over single-celled organisms in that their cells can be specialized to perform specific functions, and even sacrificed in certain situations for the good of the organism as a whole. How these specialized cells come together to form organs such as the heart, lung, or skin in organisms like the toad shown in [link] will be discussed later.

Sensitivity or Response to Stimuli

Organisms respond to diverse stimuli. For example, plants can bend toward a source of light or respond to touch ([link]). Even tiny bacteria can move toward or away from chemicals (a process called chemotaxis) or light (phototaxis). Movement toward a stimulus is considered a positive response, while movement away from a stimulus is considered a negative response.

Watch this video to see how the sensitive plant responds to a touch stimulus.

Reproduction

Single-celled organisms reproduce by first duplicating their DNA, which is the genetic material, and then dividing it equally as the cell prepares to divide to form two new cells. Many multicellular organisms (those made up of more than one cell) produce specialized reproductive cells that will form new individuals. When reproduction occurs, DNA containing genes is passed along to an organism’s offspring. These genes are the reason that the offspring will belong to the same species and will have characteristics similar to the parent, such as fur color and blood type.

Adaptation

All living organisms exhibit a “fit” to their environment. Biologists refer to this fit as adaptation and it is a consequence of evolution by natural selection, which operates in every lineage of reproducing organisms. Examples of adaptations are diverse and unique, from heat-resistant Archaea that live in boiling hot springs to the tongue length of a nectar-feeding moth that matches the size of the flower from which it feeds. All adaptations enhance the reproductive potential of the individual exhibiting them, including their ability to survive to reproduce. Adaptations are not constant. As an environment changes, natural selection causes the characteristics of the individuals in a population to track those changes.

Growth and Development

Organisms grow and develop according to specific instructions coded for by their genes. These genes provide instructions that will direct cellular growth and development, ensuring that a species’ young ([link]) will grow up to exhibit many of the same characteristics as its parents.

Regulation

Even the smallest organisms are complex and require multiple regulatory mechanisms to coordinate internal functions, such as the transport of nutrients, response to stimuli, and coping with environmental stresses. For example, organ systems such as the digestive or circulatory systems perform specific functions like carrying oxygen throughout the body, removing wastes, delivering nutrients to every cell, and cooling the body.

Homeostasis

To function properly, cells require appropriate conditions such as proper temperature, pH, and concentrations of diverse chemicals. These conditions may, however, change from one moment to the next. Organisms are able to maintain internal conditions within a narrow range almost constantly, despite environmental changes, through a process called homeostasis or “steady state”—the ability of an organism to maintain constant internal conditions. For example, many organisms regulate their body temperature in a process known as thermoregulation. Organisms that live in cold climates, such as the polar bear ([link]), have body structures that help them withstand low temperatures and conserve body heat. In hot climates, organisms have methods (such as perspiration in humans or panting in dogs) that help them to shed excess body heat.

Energy Processing

All organisms (such as the California condor shown in [link]) use a source of energy for their metabolic activities. Some organisms capture energy from the Sun and convert it into chemical energy in food others use chemical energy from molecules they take in.

Levels of Organization of Living Things

Living things are highly organized and structured, following a hierarchy on a scale from small to large. The atom is the smallest and most fundamental unit of matter. It consists of a nucleus surrounded by electrons. Atoms form molecules. A molecule is a chemical structure consisting of at least two atoms held together by a chemical bond. Many molecules that are biologically important are macromolecules, large molecules that are typically formed by combining smaller units called monomers. An example of a macromolecule is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) ([link]), which contains the instructions for the functioning of the organism that contains it.

To see an animation of this DNA molecule, click here.

Some cells contain aggregates of macromolecules surrounded by membranes these are called organelles. Organelles are small structures that exist within cells and perform specialized functions. All living things are made of cells the cell itself is the smallest fundamental unit of structure and function in living organisms. (This requirement is why viruses are not considered living: they are not made of cells. To make new viruses, they have to invade and hijack a living cell only then can they obtain the materials they need to reproduce.) Some organisms consist of a single cell and others are multicellular. Cells are classified as prokaryotic or eukaryotic. Prokaryotes are single-celled organisms that lack organelles surrounded by a membrane and do not have nuclei surrounded by nuclear membranes in contrast, the cells of eukaryotes do have membrane-bound organelles and nuclei.

In most multicellular organisms, cells combine to make tissues, which are groups of similar cells carrying out the same function. Organs are collections of tissues grouped together based on a common function. Organs are present not only in animals but also in plants. An organ system is a higher level of organization that consists of functionally related organs. For example vertebrate animals have many organ systems, such as the circulatory system that transports blood throughout the body and to and from the lungs it includes organs such as the heart and blood vessels. Organisms are individual living entities. For example, each tree in a forest is an organism. Single-celled prokaryotes and single-celled eukaryotes are also considered organisms and are typically referred to as microorganisms.

Which of the following statements is false?

  1. Tissues exist within organs which exist within organ systems.
  2. Communities exist within populations which exist within ecosystems.
  3. Organelles exist within cells which exist within tissues.
  4. Communities exist within ecosystems which exist in the biosphere.

All the individuals of a species living within a specific area are collectively called a population. For example, a forest may include many white pine trees. All of these pine trees represent the population of white pine trees in this forest. Different populations may live in the same specific area. For example, the forest with the pine trees includes populations of flowering plants and also insects and microbial populations. A community is the set of populations inhabiting a particular area. For instance, all of the trees, flowers, insects, and other populations in a forest form the forest’s community. The forest itself is an ecosystem. An ecosystem consists of all the living things in a particular area together with the abiotic, or non-living, parts of that environment such as nitrogen in the soil or rainwater. At the highest level of organization ([link]), the biosphere is the collection of all ecosystems, and it represents the zones of life on Earth. It includes land, water, and portions of the atmosphere.

The Diversity of Life

The science of biology is very broad in scope because there is a tremendous diversity of life on Earth. The source of this diversity is evolution, the process of gradual change during which new species arise from older species. Evolutionary biologists study the evolution of living things in everything from the microscopic world to ecosystems.

In the 18th century, a scientist named Carl Linnaeus first proposed organizing the known species of organisms into a hierarchical taxonomy. In this system, species that are most similar to each other are put together within a grouping known as a genus. Furthermore, similar genera (the plural of genus) are put together within a family. This grouping continues until all organisms are collected together into groups at the highest level. The current taxonomic system now has eight levels in its hierarchy, from lowest to highest, they are: species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain. Thus species are grouped within genera, genera are grouped within families, families are grouped within orders, and so on ([link]).

The highest level, domain, is a relatively new addition to the system since the 1990s. Scientists now recognize three domains of life, the Eukarya, the Archaea, and the Bacteria. The domain Eukarya contains organisms that have cells with nuclei. It includes the kingdoms of fungi, plants, animals, and several kingdoms of protists. The Archaea, are single-celled organisms without nuclei and include many extremophiles that live in harsh environments like hot springs. The Bacteria are another quite different group of single-celled organisms without nuclei ([link]). Both the Archaea and the Bacteria are prokaryotes, an informal name for cells without nuclei. The recognition in the 1990s that certain “bacteria,” now known as the Archaea, were as different genetically and biochemically from other bacterial cells as they were from eukaryotes, motivated the recommendation to divide life into three domains. This dramatic change in our knowledge of the tree of life demonstrates that classifications are not permanent and will change when new information becomes available.

In addition to the hierarchical taxonomic system, Linnaeus was the first to name organisms using two unique names, now called the binomial naming system. Before Linnaeus, the use of common names to refer to organisms caused confusion because there were regional differences in these common names. Binomial names consist of the genus name (which is capitalized) and the species name (all lower-case). Both names are set in italics when they are printed. Every species is given a unique binomial which is recognized the world over, so that a scientist in any location can know which organism is being referred to. For example, the North American blue jay is known uniquely as Cyanocitta cristata. Our own species is Homo sapiens.

Carl Woese and the Phylogenetic Tree The evolutionary relationships of various life forms on Earth can be summarized in a phylogenetic tree. A phylogenetic tree is a diagram showing the evolutionary relationships among biological species based on similarities and differences in genetic or physical traits or both. A phylogenetic tree is composed of branch points, or nodes, and branches. The internal nodes represent ancestors and are points in evolution when, based on scientific evidence, an ancestor is thought to have diverged to form two new species. The length of each branch can be considered as estimates of relative time.

In the past, biologists grouped living organisms into five kingdoms: animals, plants, fungi, protists, and bacteria. The pioneering work of American microbiologist Carl Woese in the early 1970s has shown, however, that life on Earth has evolved along three lineages, now called domains—Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. Woese proposed the domain as a new taxonomic level and Archaea as a new domain, to reflect the new phylogenetic tree ([link]). Many organisms belonging to the Archaea domain live under extreme conditions and are called extremophiles. To construct his tree, Woese used genetic relationships rather than similarities based on morphology (shape). Various genes were used in phylogenetic studies. Woese’s tree was constructed from comparative sequencing of the genes that are universally distributed, found in some slightly altered form in every organism, conserved (meaning that these genes have remained only slightly changed throughout evolution), and of an appropriate length.

Branches of Biological Study

The scope of biology is broad and therefore contains many branches and sub disciplines. Biologists may pursue one of those sub disciplines and work in a more focused field. For instance, molecular biology studies biological processes at the molecular level, including interactions among molecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins, as well as the way they are regulated. Microbiology is the study of the structure and function of microorganisms. It is quite a broad branch itself, and depending on the subject of study, there are also microbial physiologists, ecologists, and geneticists, among others.

Another field of biological study, neurobiology, studies the biology of the nervous system, and although it is considered a branch of biology, it is also recognized as an interdisciplinary field of study known as neuroscience. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, this sub discipline studies different functions of the nervous system using molecular, cellular, developmental, medical, and computational approaches.

Paleontology, another branch of biology, uses fossils to study life’s history ([link]). Zoology and botany are the study of animals and plants, respectively. Biologists can also specialize as biotechnologists, ecologists, or physiologists, to name just a few areas. Biotechnologists apply the knowledge of biology to create useful products. Ecologists study the interactions of organisms in their environments. Physiologists study the workings of cells, tissues and organs. This is just a small sample of the many fields that biologists can pursue. From our own bodies to the world we live in, discoveries in biology can affect us in very direct and important ways. We depend on these discoveries for our health, our food sources, and the benefits provided by our ecosystem. Because of this, knowledge of biology can benefit us in making decisions in our day-to-day lives.

The development of technology in the twentieth century that continues today, particularly the technology to describe and manipulate the genetic material, DNA, has transformed biology. This transformation will allow biologists to continue to understand the history of life in greater detail, how the human body works, our human origins, and how humans can survive as a species on this planet despite the stresses caused by our increasing numbers. Biologists continue to decipher huge mysteries about life suggesting that we have only begun to understand life on the planet, its history, and our relationship to it. For this and other reasons, the knowledge of biology gained through this textbook and other printed and electronic media should be a benefit in whichever field you enter.

Forensic Scientist Forensic science is the application of science to answer questions related to the law. Biologists as well as chemists and biochemists can be forensic scientists. Forensic scientists provide scientific evidence for use in courts, and their job involves examining trace material associated with crimes. Interest in forensic science has increased in the last few years, possibly because of popular television shows that feature forensic scientists on the job. Also, the development of molecular techniques and the establishment of DNA databases have updated the types of work that forensic scientists can do. Their job activities are primarily related to crimes against people such as murder, rape, and assault. Their work involves analyzing samples such as hair, blood, and other body fluids and also processing DNA ([link]) found in many different environments and materials. Forensic scientists also analyze other biological evidence left at crime scenes, such as insect parts or pollen grains. Students who want to pursue careers in forensic science will most likely be required to take chemistry and biology courses as well as some intensive math courses.

Section Summary

Biology is the science of life. All living organisms share several key properties such as order, sensitivity or response to stimuli, reproduction, adaptation, growth and development, regulation, homeostasis, and energy processing. Living things are highly organized following a hierarchy that includes atoms, molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems. Organisms, in turn, are grouped as populations, communities, ecosystems, and the biosphere. Evolution is the source of the tremendous biological diversity on Earth today. A diagram called a phylogenetic tree can be used to show evolutionary relationships among organisms. Biology is very broad and includes many branches and sub disciplines. Examples include molecular biology, microbiology, neurobiology, zoology, and botany, among others.


What is a Human Cell

Human cells are the various types of cells that collectively make up the human body. Around 210 functionally different types of cells are present in humans. Some of their functions are secretion, storage, etc.

Figure 2: Human Cell

Both human cells and animal cells are diploid, except the gametes, which are haploid. The human genome is approximately 3 billion base pairs in size. It contains around 25,000 protein-coding genes.


4.1: Cell Structure and Function

A cell is the smallest living thing in the human organism, and all living structures in the human body are made of cells. There are hundreds of different types of cells in the human body, which vary in shape (e.g. round, flat, long and thin, short and thick) and size (e.g. small granule cells of the cerebellum in the brain (4 micrometers), up to the huge oocytes (eggs) produced in the female reproductive organs (100 micrometers) and function. However, all cells have three main parts, the plasma membrane, the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The plasma membrane (often called the cell membrane) is a thin flexible barrier that separates the inside of the cell from the environment outside the cell and regulates what can pass in and out of the cell. Internally, the cell is divided into the cytoplasm and the nucleus. The cytoplasm (cyto- = cell -plasm = &ldquosomething molded&rdquo) is where most functions of the cell are carried out. It looks a bit-like mixed fruit jelly, where the watery jelly is called the cytosol and the different fruits in it are called organelles. The cytosol also contains many molecules and ions involved in cell functions. Different organelles also perform different cell functions and many are also separated from the cytosol by membranes. The largest organelle, the nucleus is separated from the cytoplasm by a nuclear envelope (membrane). It contains the DNA (genes) that code for proteins necessary for the cell to function.

Generally speaking, the inside environment of a cell is called the intracellular fluid (ICF), (intra- = within referred to all fluid contained in cytosol, organelles and nucleus) while the environment outside a cell is called the extracellular fluid (ECF) (extra- = outside of referred to all fluid outside cells). Plasma, the fluid part of blood, is the only ECF compartment that links all cells in the body.

Figure (PageIndex<1>) 3-D representation of a simple human cell. The top half of the cell volume was removed. Number 1 shows the nucleus, numbers 3 to 13 show different organelles immersed in the cytosol, and number 14 on the surface of the cell shows the plasma membrane

Concepts, terms, and facts check

Study Questions Write your answer in a sentence form (do not answer using loose words)

1. What is a cell?
2. What is a plasma membrane?
3. What is a cytoplasm?
4. What is the intracellular fluid (ICF)?
5. What is the extracellular fluid (ECF)?

The plasma (cell) membrane separates the inner environment of a cell from the extracellular fluid. It is composed of a fluid phospholipid bilayer (two layers of phospholipids) as shown in figure (PageIndex<2>) below, and other molecules. Not many substances can cross the phospholipid bilayer, so it serves to separate the inside of the cell from the extracellular fluid. Other molecules found in the membrane include cholesterol, proteins, glycolipids and glycoproteins, some of which are shown in figure (PageIndex<3>) below. Cholesterol, a type of lipid, makes the membrane a little stronger. Different proteins found either crossing the bilayer (integral proteins) or on its surface (peripheral proteins) have many important functions. Channel and transporter (carrier) proteins regulate the movement of specific molecules and ions in and out of cells. Receptor proteins in the membrane initiate changes in cell activity by binding and responding to chemical signals, such as hormones (like a lock and key). Other proteins include those that act as structural anchors to bind neighboring cells and enzymes. Glycoproteins and glycolipids in the membrane act as identification markers or labels on the extracellular surface of the membrane. Thus, the plasma membrane has many functions and works as both a gateway and a selective barrier.

Figure (PageIndex<2>) Phospholipids form the basic structure of a cell membrane. Hydrophobic tails of phospholipids are facing the core of the membrane, avoiding contact with the inner and outer watery environment. Hydrophilic heads are facing the surface of the membrane in contact with intracellular fluid and extracellular fluid.

Figure (PageIndex<3>) Small area of the plasma membrane showing lipids (phospholipids and cholesterol), different proteins, glycolipids and glycoproteins.

Concepts, terms, and facts check

Study Questions Write your answer in a sentence form (do not answer using loose words)

1. What is the function of the cell membrane?
2. Which are the three types of biomolecules that form the cell membrane?

Almost all human cells contain a nucleus where DNA, the genetic material that ultimately controls all cell processes, is found. The nucleus is the largest cellular organelle, and the only one visible using a light microscope. Much like the cytoplasm of a cell is enclosed by a plasma membrane, the nucleus is surrounded by a nuclear envelope that separates the contents of the nucleus from the contents of the cytoplasm. Nuclear pores in the envelope are small holes that control which ions and molecules (for example, proteins and RNA) can move in and out the nucleus. In addition to DNA, the nucleus contains many nuclear proteins. Together DNA and these proteins are called chromatin. A region inside the nucleus called the nucleolus is related to the production of RNA molecules needed to transmit and express the information coded in DNA. See all these structures below in figure (PageIndex<4>).

Figure (PageIndex<4>) Nucleus of a human cell. Find DNA, nuclear envelope, nucleolus, and nuclear pores. The figure also shows how the outer layer of the nuclear envelope continues as rough endoplasmic reticulum, which will be discussed in the next learning objective.

Concepts, terms, and facts check

Study Questions Write your answer in a sentence form (do not answer using loose words)

1. What is the nuclear envelope?
2. What is a nuclear pore?
3. What is the function of the nucleus?

An organelle is any structure inside a cell that carries out a metabolic function. The cytoplasm contains many different organelles, each with a specialized function. (The nucleus discussed above is the largest cellular organelle but is not considered part of the cytoplasm). Many organelles are cellular compartments separated from the cytosol by one or more membranes very similar in structure to the cell membrane, while others such as centrioles and free ribosomes do not have a membrane. See figure (PageIndex<5>) and table (PageIndex<1>) below to learn the structure and functions of different organelles such as mitochondria (which are specialized to produce cellular energy in the form of ATP) and ribosomes (which synthesize the proteins necessary for the cell to function). Membranes of the rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum form a network of interconnected tubes inside of cells that are continuous with the nuclear envelope. These organelles are also connected to the Golgi apparatus and the plasma membrane by means of vesicles. Different cells contain different amounts of different organelles depending on their function. For example, muscle cells contain many mitochondria while cells in the pancreas that make digestive enzymes contain many ribosomes and secretory vesicles.

Figure (PageIndex<5>) Typical example of a cell containing the primary organelles and internal structures. Table (PageIndex<1>) below describes the functions of mitochondrion, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, secretory vesicles, peroxisomes, lysosomes, microtubules and microfilaments (fibers of the cytoskeleton)

(shown here synthesizing a protein)

Found attached to RER and free in the cytosol

Fibers of the Cytoskeleton

(a) microtubule made of tubulin,

(b) microfilament made of actin, and

(c) intermediate fibers made of keratins

(found in an area in the cell called centrosome)

Concepts, terms, and facts check

Study Questions Write your answer in a sentence form (do not answer using loose words)

1. What is an organelle?
2. Which are the organelles listed in the module?


1.1 Themes and Concepts of Biology

Biology is the science that studies life. What exactly is life? This may sound like a silly question with an obvious answer, but it is not easy to define life. For example, a branch of biology called virology studies viruses, which exhibit some of the characteristics of living entities but lack others. It turns out that although viruses can attack living organisms, cause diseases, and even reproduce, they do not meet the criteria that biologists use to define life.

From its earliest beginnings, biology has wrestled with four questions: What are the shared properties that make something “alive”? How do those various living things function? When faced with the remarkable diversity of life, how do we organize the different kinds of organisms so that we can better understand them? And, finally—what biologists ultimately seek to understand—how did this diversity arise and how is it continuing? As new organisms are discovered every day, biologists continue to seek answers to these and other questions.

Properties of Life

All groups of living organisms share several key characteristics or functions: order, sensitivity or response to stimuli, reproduction, adaptation, growth and development, regulation/homeostasis, and energy processing. When viewed together, these eight characteristics serve to define life.

Order

Organisms are highly organized structures that consist of one or more cells. Even very simple, single-celled organisms are remarkably complex. Inside each cell, atoms make up molecules. These in turn make up cell components or organelles. Multicellular organisms, which may consist of millions of individual cells, have an advantage over single-celled organisms in that their cells can be specialized to perform specific functions, and even sacrificed in certain situations for the good of the organism as a whole. How these specialized cells come together to form organs such as the heart, lung, or skin in organisms like the toad shown in Figure 1.2 will be discussed later.

Sensitivity or Response to Stimuli

Organisms respond to diverse stimuli. For example, plants can bend toward a source of light or respond to touch (Figure 1.3). Even tiny bacteria can move toward or away from chemicals (a process called chemotaxis) or light (phototaxis). Movement toward a stimulus is considered a positive response, while movement away from a stimulus is considered a negative response.

Concepts in Action

Watch this video to see how the sensitive plant responds to a touch stimulus.

Reproduction

Single-celled organisms reproduce by first duplicating their DNA, which is the genetic material, and then dividing it equally as the cell prepares to divide to form two new cells. Many multicellular organisms (those made up of more than one cell) produce specialized reproductive cells that will form new individuals. When reproduction occurs, DNA containing genes is passed along to an organism’s offspring. These genes are the reason that the offspring will belong to the same species and will have characteristics similar to the parent, such as fur color and blood type.

Adaptation

All living organisms exhibit a “fit” to their environment. Biologists refer to this fit as adaptation and it is a consequence of evolution by natural selection, which operates in every lineage of reproducing organisms. Examples of adaptations are diverse and unique, from heat-resistant Archaea that live in boiling hot springs to the tongue length of a nectar-feeding moth that matches the size of the flower from which it feeds. Adaptations enhance the reproductive potential of the individual exhibiting them, including their ability to survive to reproduce. Adaptations are not constant. As an environment changes, natural selection causes the characteristics of the individuals in a population to track those changes.

Growth and Development

Organisms grow and develop according to specific instructions coded for by their genes. These genes provide instructions that will direct cellular growth and development, ensuring that a species’ young (Figure 1.4) will grow up to exhibit many of the same characteristics as its parents.

Regulation/Homeostasis

Even the smallest organisms are complex and require multiple regulatory mechanisms to coordinate internal functions, such as the transport of nutrients, response to stimuli, and coping with environmental stresses. For example, organ systems such as the digestive or circulatory systems perform specific functions like carrying oxygen throughout the body, removing wastes, delivering nutrients to every cell, and cooling the body.

To function properly, cells require appropriate conditions such as proper temperature, pH, and concentrations of diverse chemicals. These conditions may, however, change from one moment to the next. Organisms are able to maintain internal conditions within a narrow range almost constantly, despite environmental changes, through a process called homeostasis or “steady state”—the ability of an organism to maintain constant internal conditions. For example, many organisms regulate their body temperature in a process known as thermoregulation. Organisms that live in cold climates, such as the polar bear (Figure 1.5), have body structures that help them withstand low temperatures and conserve body heat. In hot climates, organisms have methods (such as perspiration in humans or panting in dogs) that help them to shed excess body heat.

Energy Processing

All organisms (such as the California condor shown in Figure 1.6) use a source of energy for their metabolic activities. Some organisms capture energy from the Sun and convert it into chemical energy in food others use chemical energy from molecules they take in.

Evolution

The diversity of life on Earth is a result of mutations, or random changes in hereditary material over time. These mutations allow the possibility for organisms to adapt to a changing environment. An organism that evolves characteristics fit for the environment will have greater reproductive success, subject to the forces of natural selection.

Levels of Organization of Living Things

Living things are highly organized and structured, following a hierarchy on a scale from small to large. The atom is the smallest and most fundamental unit of matter that retains the properties of an element. It consists of a nucleus surrounded by electrons. Atoms form molecules. A molecule is a chemical structure consisting of at least two atoms held together by a chemical bond. Many molecules that are biologically important are macromolecules , large molecules that are typically formed by combining smaller units called monomers. An example of a macromolecule is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) (Figure 1.7), which contains the instructions for the functioning of the organism that contains it.

Concepts in Action

To see an animation of this DNA molecule, click here.

Some cells contain aggregates of macromolecules surrounded by membranes these are called organelles . Organelles are small structures that exist within cells and perform specialized functions. All living things are made of cells the cell itself is the smallest fundamental unit of structure and function in living organisms. (This requirement is why viruses are not considered living: they are not made of cells. To make new viruses, they have to invade and hijack a living cell only then can they obtain the materials they need to reproduce.) Some organisms consist of a single cell and others are multicellular. Cells are classified as prokaryotic or eukaryotic. Prokaryotes are single-celled organisms that lack organelles surrounded by a membrane and do not have nuclei surrounded by nuclear membranes in contrast, the cells of eukaryotes do have membrane-bound organelles and nuclei.

In most multicellular organisms, cells combine to make tissues , which are groups of similar cells carrying out the same function. Organs are collections of tissues grouped together based on a common function. Organs are present not only in animals but also in plants. An organ system is a higher level of organization that consists of functionally related organs. For example vertebrate animals have many organ systems, such as the circulatory system that transports blood throughout the body and to and from the lungs it includes organs such as the heart and blood vessels. Organisms are individual living entities. For example, each tree in a forest is an organism. Single-celled prokaryotes and single-celled eukaryotes are also considered organisms and are typically referred to as microorganisms.

Visual Connection

Which of the following statements is false?

  1. Tissues exist within organs which exist within organ systems.
  2. Communities exist within populations which exist within ecosystems.
  3. Organelles exist within cells which exist within tissues.
  4. Communities exist within ecosystems which exist in the biosphere.

All the individuals of a species living within a specific area are collectively called a population . For example, a forest may include many white pine trees. All of these pine trees represent the population of white pine trees in this forest. Different populations may live in the same specific area. For example, the forest with the pine trees includes populations of flowering plants and also insects and microbial populations. A community is the set of populations inhabiting a particular area. For instance, all of the trees, flowers, insects, and other populations in a forest form the forest’s community. The forest itself is an ecosystem. An ecosystem consists of all the living things in a particular area together with the abiotic, or non-living, parts of that environment such as nitrogen in the soil or rainwater. At the highest level of organization (Figure 1.8), the biosphere is the collection of all ecosystems, and it represents the zones of life on Earth. It includes land, water, and portions of the atmosphere.

The Diversity of Life

The science of biology is very broad in scope because there is a tremendous diversity of life on Earth. The source of this diversity is evolution , the process of gradual change during which new species arise from older species. Evolutionary biologists study the evolution of living things in everything from the microscopic world to ecosystems.

In the 18th century, a scientist named Carl Linnaeus first proposed organizing the known species of organisms into a hierarchical taxonomy. In this system, species that are most similar to each other are put together within a grouping known as a genus. Furthermore, similar genera (the plural of genus) are put together within a family. This grouping continues until all organisms are collected together into groups at the highest level. The current taxonomic system now has eight levels in its hierarchy, from lowest to highest, they are: species, genus, family, order, class, phylum, kingdom, domain. Thus species are grouped within genera, genera are grouped within families, families are grouped within orders, and so on (Figure 1.9).

The highest level, domain, is a relatively new addition to the system since the 1970s. Scientists now recognize three domains of life, the Eukarya, the Archaea, and the Bacteria. The domain Eukarya contains organisms that have cells with nuclei. It includes the kingdoms of fungi, plants, animals, and several kingdoms of protists. The Archaea, are single-celled organisms without nuclei and include many extremophiles that live in harsh environments like hot springs. The Bacteria are another quite different group of single-celled organisms without nuclei (Figure 1.10). Both the Archaea and the Bacteria are prokaryotes, an informal name for cells without nuclei. The recognition in the 1970s that certain “bacteria,” now known as the Archaea, were as different genetically and biochemically from other bacterial cells as they were from eukaryotes, motivated the recommendation to divide life into three domains. This dramatic change in our knowledge of the tree of life demonstrates that classifications are not permanent and will change when new information becomes available.

In addition to the hierarchical taxonomic system, Linnaeus was the first to name organisms using two unique names, now called the binomial naming system. Before Linnaeus, the use of common names to refer to organisms caused confusion because there were regional differences in these common names. Binomial names consist of the genus name (which is capitalized) and the species name (all lower-case). Both names are set in italics when they are printed. Every species is given a unique binomial which is recognized the world over, so that a scientist in any location can know which organism is being referred to. For example, the North American blue jay is known uniquely as Cyanocitta cristata. Our own species is Homo sapiens.

Evolution Connection

Carl Woese and the Phylogenetic Tree

The evolutionary relationships of various life forms on Earth can be summarized in a phylogenetic tree. A phylogenetic tree is a diagram showing the evolutionary relationships among biological species based on similarities and differences in genetic or physical traits or both. A phylogenetic tree is composed of branch points, or nodes, and branches. The internal nodes represent ancestors and are points in evolution when, based on scientific evidence, an ancestor is thought to have diverged to form two new species. The length of each branch can be considered as estimates of relative time.

In the past, biologists grouped living organisms into five kingdoms: animals, plants, fungi, protists, and bacteria. The pioneering work of American microbiologist Carl Woese in the early 1970s has shown, however, that life on Earth has evolved along three lineages, now called domains—Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. Woese proposed the domain as a new taxonomic level and Archaea as a new domain, to reflect the new phylogenetic tree (Figure 1.11). Many organisms belonging to the Archaea domain live under extreme conditions and are called extremophiles. To construct his tree, Woese used genetic relationships rather than similarities based on morphology (shape). Various genes were used in phylogenetic studies. Woese’s tree was constructed from comparative sequencing of the genes that are universally distributed, found in some slightly altered form in every organism, conserved (meaning that these genes have remained only slightly changed throughout evolution), and of an appropriate length.

Branches of Biological Study

The scope of biology is broad and therefore contains many branches and sub disciplines. Biologists may pursue one of those sub disciplines and work in a more focused field. For instance, molecular biology studies biological processes at the molecular level, including interactions among molecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins, as well as the way they are regulated. Microbiology is the study of the structure and function of microorganisms. It is quite a broad branch itself, and depending on the subject of study, there are also microbial physiologists, ecologists, and geneticists, among others.

Another field of biological study, neurobiology, studies the biology of the nervous system, and although it is considered a branch of biology, it is also recognized as an interdisciplinary field of study known as neuroscience. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, this sub discipline studies different functions of the nervous system using molecular, cellular, developmental, medical, and computational approaches.

Paleontology, another branch of biology, uses fossils to study life’s history (Figure 1.12). Zoology and botany are the study of animals and plants, respectively. Biologists can also specialize as biotechnologists, ecologists, or physiologists, to name just a few areas. Biotechnologists apply the knowledge of biology to create useful products. Ecologists study the interactions of organisms in their environments. Physiologists study the workings of cells, tissues and organs. This is just a small sample of the many fields that biologists can pursue. From our own bodies to the world we live in, discoveries in biology can affect us in very direct and important ways. We depend on these discoveries for our health, our food sources, and the benefits provided by our ecosystem. Because of this, knowledge of biology can benefit us in making decisions in our day-to-day lives.

The development of technology in the twentieth century that continues today, particularly the technology to describe and manipulate the genetic material, DNA, has transformed biology. This transformation will allow biologists to continue to understand the history of life in greater detail, how the human body works, our human origins, and how humans can survive as a species on this planet despite the stresses caused by our increasing numbers. Biologists continue to decipher huge mysteries about life suggesting that we have only begun to understand life on the planet, its history, and our relationship to it. For this and other reasons, the knowledge of biology gained through this textbook and other printed and electronic media should be a benefit in whichever field you enter.

Career Connection

Forensic Scientist

Forensic science is the application of science to answer questions related to the law. Biologists as well as chemists and biochemists can be forensic scientists. Forensic scientists provide scientific evidence for use in courts, and their job involves examining trace material associated with crimes. Interest in forensic science has increased in the last few years, possibly because of popular television shows that feature forensic scientists on the job. Also, the development of molecular techniques and the establishment of DNA databases have updated the types of work that forensic scientists can do. Their job activities are primarily related to crimes against people such as murder, rape, and assault. Their work involves analyzing samples such as hair, blood, and other body fluids and also processing DNA (Figure 1.13) found in many different environments and materials. Forensic scientists also analyze other biological evidence left at crime scenes, such as insect parts or pollen grains. Students who want to pursue careers in forensic science will most likely be required to take chemistry and biology courses as well as some intensive math courses.


Cellular Reproduction

Most cells reproduce through the process of mitosis, also known as cell division. Mitosis occurs in both unicellular and multicellular organisms. Cells duplicate themselves for procreation in the case of unicellular creatures, while mitosis in multicellular organisms replaces old cells and is responsible for tissue growth.

Mitosis results in two daughter cells that have the exact genetic material of the original cell. In mitosis, the genetic material — which dictates structure and function in each cell — duplicates and the cell divides down the middle, with each new cell possessing structures identical to the original cell.


Do all human cells have all the same organelles? - Biology

Cell Structure & Function

Physiology - science that describes how organisms FUNCTION and survive in continually changing environments

Levels of Organization:

CHEMICAL LEVEL - includes all chemical substances necessary for life (see, for example, a small portion - a heme group - of a hemoglobin molecule) together form the next higher level


Source: http://cwx.prenhall.com/bookbind/pubbooks/hillchem3/medialib/media_portfolio/text_images/CH25/FG25_07.JPG

CELLULAR LEVEL - cells are the basic structural and functional units of the human body & there are many different types of cells (e.g., muscle, nerve, blood, and so on)

TISSUE LEVEL - a tissue is a group of cells that perform a specific function and the basic types of tissues in the human body include epithelial, muscle, nervous, and connective tissues

ORGAN LEVEL - an organ consists of 2 or more tissues that perform a particular function (e.g., heart, liver, stomach, and so on)

SYSTEM LEVEL - an association of organs that have a common function the major systems in the human body include digestive, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, urinary, and reproductive.

There are two types of cells that make up all living things on earth: prokaryotic and eukaryotic. Prokaryotic cells, like bacteria, have no 'nucleus', while eukaryotic cells, like those of the human body, do. So, a human cell is enclosed by a cell, or plasma, membrane. Enclosed by that membrane is the cytoplasm (with associated organelles) plus a nucleus.

Cell, or Plasma, membrane - encloses every human cell

    • Structure - 2 primary building blocks include protein (about 60% of the membrane) and lipid, or fat (about 40% of the membrane). The primary lipid is called phospholipid, and molecules of phospholipid form a 'phospholipid bilayer' (two layers of phospholipid molecules). This bilayer forms because the two 'ends' of phospholipid molecules have very different characteristics: one end is polar (or hydrophilic) and one (the hydrocarbon tails below) is non-polar (or hydrophobic):
      • Functions include:
        • supporting and retaining the cytoplasm
        • being a selective barrier
          • The cell is separated from its environment and needs to get nutrients in and waste products out. Some molecules can cross the membrane without assistance, most cannot. Water, non-polar molecules and some small polar molecules can cross. Non-polar molecules penetrate by actually dissolving into the lipid bilayer. Most polar compounds such as amino acids, organic acids and inorganic salts are not allowed entry, but instead must be specifically transported across the membrane by proteins.
          • Many of the proteins in the membrane function to help carry out selective transport. These proteins typically span the whole membrane, making contact with the outside environment and the cytoplasm. They often require the expenditure of energy to help compounds move across the membrane
              • recognition
              • Cytoplasm consists of a gelatinous solution and contains microtubules (which serve as a cell's cytoskeleton) and organelles (literally 'little organs')
              • Cells also contain a nucleus within which is found DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in the form of chromosomes plus nucleoli (within which ribosomes are formed)
              • Organelles include:
                • Endoplasmic reticulum -
                  • comes in 2 forms: smooth and rough the surface of rough ER is coated with ribosomes the surface of smooth ER is not
                  • functions include: mechanical support, synthesis (especially proteins by rough ER), and transport
                  • consists of a series of flattened sacs (or cisternae)
                  • functions include: synthesis (of substances likes phospholipids), packaging of materials for transport (in vesicles), and production of lysosomes
                  • membrane-enclosed spheres that contain powerful digestive enzymes
                  • functions include destruction of damaged cells (which is why they are sometimes called 'suicide bags') & digestion of phagocytosed materials (such as bacteria)
                    • Mitochondria -
                      • have a double-membrane: outer membrane & highly convoluted inner membrane
                          • inner membrane has folds or shelf-like structures called cristae that contain elementary particles these particles contain enzymes important in ATP production
                          • primary function is production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
                          • composed of rRNA (ribosomal RNA) & protein
                          • may be dispersed randomly throughout the cytoplasm or attached to surface of rough endoplasmic reticulum
                          • often linked together in chains called polyribosomes or polysomes
                          • primary function is to produce proteins
                          • paired cylindrical structures located near the nucleas
                          • play an important role in cell division
                          • cilia are relatively short & numerous (e.g., those lining trachea)
                          • a flagellum is relatively long and there's typically just one (e.g., sperm)
                            • Villi - projections of cell membrane that serve to increase surface area of a cell (which is important, for example, for cells that line the intestine)

                            DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) - controls cell function via transcription and translation (in other words, by controlling protein synthesis in a cell)

                            Transcription - DNA is used to produce mRNA

                              • sequence of amino acids in a protein is determined by sequence of codons (mRNA). Codons are 'read' by anticodons of tRNAs & tRNAs then 'deliver' their amino acid.
                              • Amino acids are linked together by peptide bonds (see diagram to the right)
                              • As mRNA slides through ribosome, codons are exposed in sequence & appropriate amino acids are delivered by tRNAs. The protein (or polypeptide) thus grows in length as more amino acids are delivered.
                              • The polypeptide chain then 'folds' in various ways to form a complex three-dimensional protein molecule that will serve either as a structural protein or an enzyme.

                              COMPONENTS OF THE CELLULAR ENVIRONMENT

                              • comprises 60 - 90% of most living organisms (and cells)
                              • important because it serves as an excellent solvent & enters into many metabolic reactions
                              • found in both intra- & extracellular fluid
                              • examples of important ions include sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride
                              • about 3% of the dry mass of a typical cell
                              • composed of carbon, hydrogen, & oxygen atoms (e.g., glucose is C 6 H 12 O 6 )
                              • an important source of energy for cells
                              • types include:
                                • monosaccharides (e.g., glucose) - most contain 5 or 6 carbon atoms
                                • disaccharides
                                  • 2 monosaccharides linked together
                                  • Examples include sucrose (a common plant disaccharide is composed of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose) & lactose (or milk sugar a disaccharide composed of glucose and the monosaccharide galactose)
                                  • several monosaccharides linked together
                                  • Examples include starch (a common plant polysaccharide made up of many glucose molecules) and glycogen (commonly stored in the liver)
                                  • about 40% of the dry mass of a typical cell
                                  • composed largely of carbon & hydrogen
                                  • generally insoluble in water
                                  • involved mainly with long-term energy storage other functions are as structural components (as in the case of phospholipids that are the major building block in cell membranes) and as "messengers" (hormones) that play roles in communications within and between cells
                                  • Subclasses include:
                                    • triglycerides - consist of one glycerol molecule + 3 fatty acids (e.g., stearic acid in the diagram below). Fatty acids typically consist of chains of 16 or 18 carbons (plus lots of hydrogens).
                                      • phospholipids - a phosphate group (-PO 4 ) substitutes for one fatty acid & these lipids are an important component of cell membranes
                                      • steroids - include testosterone, estrogen, & cholesterol
                                      • about 50 - 60% of the dry mass of a typical cell
                                      • subunit is the amino acid & amino acids are linked by peptide bonds
                                      • 2 functional categories = structural (proteins part of the structure of a cell like those in the cell membrane) & enzymes
                                        • Enzymes are catalysts. Enzymes bind temporarily to one or more of the reactants of the reaction they catalyze. In doing so, they lower the amount of activation energy needed and thus speed up the reaction.
                                        • Simple diffusion = net movement of a substance from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. The rate of diffusion is influenced by:
                                          • concentration gradient
                                          • cross-sectional area through which diffusion occurs
                                          • temperature
                                          • molecular weight of a substance
                                          • distance through which diffusion occurs
                                          • Facilitated diffusion= movement of a substance across a cell membrane from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. This process requires the use of 'carriers' (membrane proteins). In the example below, a ligand molecule (e.g., acetylcholine) binds to the membrane protein. This causes a conformational change or, in other words, an 'opening' in the protein through which a substance (e.g., sodium ions) can pass.
                                            • Active transport = movement of a substance across a cell membrane from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration using a carrier molecule
                                              • Endo- & exocytosis - moving material into (endo-) or out of (exo-) cell in bulk form

                                              Shown here is one way that active transport can occur. Initially, the membrane transport protein (also called a carrier) is in its closed configuration which does not allow substrates or other molecules to enter or leave the cell. Next, the substance being transported (small red spots) binds to the carrier at the active site (or binding site). Then, on the inside of the cell, ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate) binds to another site on the carrier and phosphorylates (adds one of its phospate groups, or -PO 4, to) one of the amino acids that is part of the carrier molecule. This attachment of a phosphate group to the carrier molecule causes a conformational change in (or a change in the shape of ) the protein so that a channel opens between the inside and outside of the cell membrane. Then, the substrate can enter the cell. As one molecule of substrate enters, the phosphate group comes off the carrier and the carrier again 'closes' so that no other molecules can pass through the channel. Now the transport protein, or carrier, is ready to start the cycle again. Note that as materials are transported into the cell, ATP is used up and ADP and -PO 4 accumulate. More ATP must be made by glycolysis and the Kreb's cycle.

                                              Characteristics of Facilitated Diffusion & Active Transport - both require the use of carriers that are specific to particular substances (that is, each type of carrier can 'carry' one type of substance) and both can exhibit saturation (movement across a membrane is limited by number of carriers & the speed with which they move materials see graph below).

                                              CELLULAR METABOLISM:

                                              Cells require energy for active transport, synthesis, impulse conduction (nerve cells), contraction (muscle cells), and so on. Cells must be able to 'capture' and store energy & release that energy in appropriate amounts when needed. An important source of energy for cells is glucose (C 6 H 12 O 6 ):

                                              C 6 H 12 O 6 + O 2 ----------> CO 2 + H 2 O + ENERGY

                                              However, this reaction releases huge amounts of energy (for a cell). So, cells gradually break down glucose in a whole series of reactions & use the smaller amounts of energy released in these reactions to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) from ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). Then, cells can break down ATP (as in this reaction):

                                              (*Those of you who know about food Calories may be surprised by this number. After all, an entire candy bar may contain only 200 food Calories. The explanation lies in the capital C. One food Calorie, spelled with a capital C, is 1000 times larger than one physiologist's calorie, spelled with a small c.)

                                              The energy released in this reaction is used by cells for active transport, synthesis, contraction, and so on. Cells need large amounts of ATP &, of course, must constantly make more. But, making ATP requires energy. The breakdown of glucose does release energy. But, how, specifically, is the energy released in the breakdown of glucose used to make ATP.

                                              A primary source of ENERGY is OXIDATION. Specifically, cells use a type of oxidation called HYDROGEN TRANSFER to generate energy:

                                              These hydrogen transfer reactions are so-named because pairs of hydrogens are 'transferred' from one substance (XH 2 in the above reaction) to another (YH 2 in the above reaction). Because the reactants (XH 2 + Y) represent more energy than the products (X + YH 2 ), this reaction releases energy.

                                              In a cell, hydrogen transfer reactions occur in MITOCHONDRIA. Pairs of hydrogens are successively passed from one substance to another, and these substances are called HYDROGEN CARRIERS.

                                              XH 2 + NAD ----> NADH 2 + FAD ----> FADH 2 + Q ----> QH 2 + C-1 ----> C-2 ---->

                                              These hydrogen transfer reactions release energy that is used to make ATP from ADP (in other words, to add a third phosphate to adenosine diphosphate in a reaction called phosphorylation). So, what occurs in mitochondria involves hydrogen transfer (a type of oxidation) + phosphorylation, or, in other words, OXIDATIVE PHOSPHORYLATION. Oxidative phosphorylation produces lots of energy but requires hydrogen. Where do the hydrogens come from?

                                              Sources of hydrogen include GLYCOLYSIS and the KREB'S CYCLE.

                                              Glycolysis involves the breakdown of glucose. Cells obtain glucose from the blood. Blood glucose levels are maintained by the interaction of two processes: glycogenesis and glycogenolysis. Glycogenesis is the production of glycogen from glucose and occurs (primarily in the liver and skeletal muscles) when blood glucose levels are too high (for example, after a meal).

                                              Glycogenolysis is the reverse process - the breakdown of glycogen to release individual molecules of glucose. This occurs when blood glucose levels begin to decline (for example, several hours after a meal). The interaction of these two processes tends to keep blood glucose levels relatively constant.

                                              Glucose taken up by cells from the blood is used to generate energy in a process called glycolysis.

                                              In the first few steps of glycolysis, glucose is converted into fructose-1,6-diphosphate. These reactions, like all chemical reactions, involve making and breaking bonds between atoms, and this sometimes requires energy. Even though glycolysis, overall, releases energy, some energy must be added initially to break the necessary bonds and get the energy-producing reactions started. This energy is called activation energy. In the above diagram, energy (i.e., a molecule of ATP) is needed at steps 1 & 3. So, before the energy-producing reactions of glycolysis begin, a cell must actually use two molecules of ATP.

                                              Overall, glycolysis can be summarized as:

                                              Glucose ----> 2 Pyruvic Acid (or pyruvate) + 2 net ATP + 4 hydrogens (2 NADH 2 )

                                              So, glycolysis produces 2 direct ATP (ATP produced directly from the reactions that occur during glycolysis) and 6 indirect ATP (the 4 hydrogens produced in glycolysis will subsequently go through oxidative phosphorylation and produce 3 ATP per pair, i.e., 4 hydrogens equals 2 pair and 2 pair times 3 ATP equals 6 ATP). Thus, glycolysis produces a total of 8 ATP.

                                              Next comes an intermediate step (called oxidative decarboxylation):


                                              Used with permission of Gary Kaiser

                                              the 2 Pyruvic Acid are converted into 2 Acetyl CoA & this reaction produces 4 hydrogens (2 NADH2). Those hydrogens (i.e., 2 pair of hydrogens) go through oxidative phosphorylation and produce 6 more ATP (2 pair @ 3 ATP per pair).

                                              Finally, comes the Kreb's Cycle:

                                              2 Acetyl CoA go through this cycle of reactions and produce 2 ATP (= GTP in the above diagram) + 16 hydrogens (6 NADH2 + 2 FADH2) plus the waste products carbon dioxide + water. The 16 hydrogens go through oxidative phosphorylation and produce 22 ATP [22 because 12 of these hydrogens (6 NADH2) go completely through the reactions of oxidative phosphorylation and produce 18 ATP (6 pair @ 3 ATP per pair), while 4 of these hydrogens (2 FADH2) go through only some of the reactions and produce 4 ATP (2 pair @ 2 ATP per pair).

                                              Overall, therefore, the Kreb's cycle produces 24 ATP (2 direct & 22 indirect).

                                              OVERALL ATP PRODUCTION from glucose = 8 (from glycolysis) + 6 (from the hydrogens produced when the 2 pyruvic acid are converted into 2 acetyl CoA) + 24 (from the Kreb's cycle) for a GRAND TOTAL OF 38:

                                              Direct Indirect (O.P.) TOTAL
                                              Glucose ----> 2 Pyruvic Acid 2 6 8
                                              2 Pyruvic Acid ----> 2 Acetyl CoA 0 6 6
                                              2 Acetyl CoA ----> CO 2 + H 2 O 2 22 24

                                              Overall Total = 38 ATP

                                              Glucose (carbohydrates) are not the only source of energy for cells. Fats (or lipids), like triglycerides, are also metabolized to produce energy.

                                              • Glycerol ----> Glyceraldehyde ----> Pyruvic Acid ----> Acetyl CoA ----> Kreb's Cycle
                                              • Fatty Acids are converted into molecules of Acetyl CoA in a process called BETA OXIDATION.

                                              This reaction not only produces lots of Acetyl CoA (or acetate) but lots of hydrogens. The Acetyl CoA goes through the Kreb's Cycle, while the hydrogens go through Oxidative Phosphorylation.

                                              Proteins are also used as a source of energy.

                                              Proteins are first broken down into amino acids. The nitrogen component of amino acids is then removed (in a reaction called DEAMINATION), and these deaminated amino acids are then converted into Acetyl CoA which passes through the Kreb's Cycle to make more ATP.


                                              Used with permission of Gary Kaiser



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