Animal Cell

The cell is one of the most basic units of life. The cell is the smallest unit of life in our bodies. In the body, there are brain cells, skin cells, liver cells, stomach cells, and the list goes on.  All of these cells have unique functions and features.

All cells have a skin, called the plasma membrane, protecting it from the outside environment.  The cell membrane regulates the movement of water, nutrients and wastes into and out of the cell.  Inside of the cell membrane are the working parts of the cell.  At the center of the cell is the cell nucleus.  The cell nucleus contains the cell's DNA, the genetic code that coordinates protein synthesis.  In addition to the nucleus, there are many organelles inside of the cell - small structures that help carry out the day-to-day operations of the cell. One important cellular organelle is the ribosome. Ribosomes participate in protein synthesis.

Another important cellular organelle is the mitochondrion.  Mitochondria are often called the power plants of the cell because many of the reactions that produce energy take place in mitochondria. Also important in the life of a cell are the lysosomes.  Lysosomes are organelles that contain enzymes that aid in the digestion of nutrient molecules and other materials.