The Cell Factory

Posted by Patricia Niemoth on 11/3/2011 3:19:00 PM

Within every plant and animal cell are many specialized structures called organelles. Each organelle is responsible for a particular function within the cell.  Some of these structures and their functions (simplified) are listed in the chart below:

 

ORGANELLE

FUNCTION

Vacuole

Storage

Mitochondrion

Energy production

Nucleus

“brain” of the cell

Endoplasmic reticulum

Sythesiszes (makes) proteins

 

Golgi apparatus

Sorting of proteins

 

It can be difficult to visualize the workings of a microscopic cell.  It is sometimes easier to relate these structures and their functions to something we are more familiar with.  For example, we could say that a cell and its organelles are like a factory.  The nucleus is analogous to the manager’s office,  the vacuole is analogous to the warehouse and the endoplasmic reticulum may be analogous to the assembly line.

 

Consider your school and your home.  What might be the vacuole in each of these environments?  What about the golgi apparatus?  
cell membrane?
cytoplasm?
ribosome?
cytoskeleton fibers?
nuclear envelope?
nucleolus?
vesicle?
lysosome?
central vacuole?
chloroplast?
flagella?
cell wall?