What Are Animal Cells? A Brief Overview of Their Structure

Animal cells are the basic building blocks in animals. Animal cells are eukaryotic cells, which means they have membrane-bound organelles. There are many different types of cells, such as nerve and red blood cells.

Membrane-bound means to be surrounded by a thin lining, or membrane. Organelle comes from the word “organ”. An organelle is a component of a cell that provides a certain function, or job.

Parts of an Animal Cell

Illustration of an animal cell. Note, a few organelles are not shown nor labeled. However, between the two photos provided, all parts are shown and labeled. Photo credit: https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-250f46e77324c4a8a0d354bbd6aac160-c

Everything that makes up an animal cell is important, but not all cells have the same organelles. However, most do and resemble the pictures provided.

  1. The nucleus is located in the center of the cell. It contains chromosomes, or genetic material. The nucleolus is inside the nucleus, and aids in protein synthesis (the production of proteins).
  2. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) aids in the transportation of compounds, protein synthesis, and metabolism, which is a series of chemical reactions to sustain life. Rough ER (RER) and smooth ER (SER) are present within the cell. the RER has ribosomes attached to it.
  3. Ribosomes are responsible for making proteins, which are needed for all cell functions. Ribosomes are made up of protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA). They are attached to RER and located throughout the cytoplasm.
  4. Cytoplasm supports the structure of the cell and holds the cell’s organelles. Its consistency resembles jelly.
  5. Mitochondria (singular form is mitochondrion) create energy sources by converting nutrients and oxygen into energy.
  6. Lysosomes, or vesicles, digest wastes and transports them out of the cell.
  7. The golgi apparatus packs and transports cell substances out of the cell via vacuoles, which store food, waste, etc. for the cell.
  8. Cilia (singular form is cilium) are hairlike structures on the cell membrane. They are only present in unicellular animals, helping them move.
  9. The cell membrane has two layers to separate the inner portion of the cell from the outside and allows substances to pass into and out of the cell.
  10. Two centrioles lie near the nucleus. They are cylindrical, and consist of nine bundles of microtubules that are in sets of three. They help orient the cell during mitosis, which is the splitting of the cell’s nucleus to yield two genetically identical cells.
Photo credit: http://media-3.web.britannica.com/eb-media/03/114903-050-CAFC50E4.jpg

Sources of information:



One thought on “What Are Animal Cells? A Brief Overview of Their Structure

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s