What is a plant cell? Concept, Types, Parts and Functions

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  1. What is a plant cell?
  2.  Types of plant cells
  3. Parts and functions of a plant cell
  4. Animal cell
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What is a plant cell?

We explain what a plant cell is, how it is classified and the parts that make it up. In addition, its functions and what an animal cell is.

What is a plant cell

A plant cell is distinguishable from an animal, despite being both eukaryotes.

A plant cell is that which composes the tissues of plants and other forms of life capable of photosynthesis, which are commonly grouped under the term plant life.

However, the morphological characteristics typical of a plant cell are not universal in all the cells that make up a plant, and are often related to the cells of fungi and protists, as is the case of the cell wall.

A typical plant cell, however, is perfectly distinguishable from an animal, despite being both eukaryotes (they have a defined nucleus).

These differences are due not only to morphological criteria, due to the needs of the body of the plants, but also to the functions they perform and the type of metabolism with which they obtain energy.

Let us remember that plant life is photosynthetic, that is, it obtains energy and nutrients from inorganic matter (water, CO2) taking advantage of the sun's energy; while animals do so by breathing, consuming environmental oxygen and organic matter from other living beings.

A first glance at plant cells allows us to distinguish the cells that make up the different types of plant tissue: root, leaves, stems and flowers. Depending on whether they belong to the structural tissue or to the substance transport tissue, they may be xylem or phloem cells, respectively.

 Types of plant cells

Plant cells are classified into:

  • Parenchyma cells. In charge of the support of the organism, the transport and storage of substances, as well as the photosynthesis itself, they are the most abundant and specialized of the vegetable organism.
  • Colénquima cells. Endowed with only one primary wall, they appear during maturity and are typically elongated, giving traction, flexibility and resistance to fabrics. I mean, they're plastic support cells.
  • Sclerenchyma cells. Hard, rigid cells, whose secondary walls possess lignin, becoming impermeable. At maturity of the plant are usually already dead, without cytoplasm, leaving only an empty central cavity. His primary role is defensive.

Parts and functions of a plant cell

The Golgi Apparatus fulfills the function of making many of the necessary proteins.

A typical plant cell is made up of:

  • Cell wall. Vegetable cells have a rigid cellulose structure covering them in two different walls: primary and secondary, which impedes the growth of the cell as such and forces it to thicken by depositing cellulose microfibers.
  • Cytoplasm. Like all cells, this is the interior of the same, a suspension of internal substances where the organelles are cell and composed of hyaloplasma or cytosol.
  • Plasmodesmo. Units of cytoplasm that can cross the cell wall and connect the plant cells of the same organism, allowing communication between cell cytoplasms and communicating them through a cylindrical conduit called a gin.
  • Vacuole. Present in all plant cells, these are closed compartments of the plasma membrane that contain fluids such as water or enzymes, including sugars, salts or proteins. Without defined form, they are used as nutrient reservoirs for the cell.
  • Plastos. These are organelles that allow the storage in the cell of substances that are indispensable for primary processes, such as photosynthesis, the synthesis of amino acids or lipids, and determine the colour of fruits and flowers, for example. They can be chloroplasts (store chlorophyll), leukoplasts (allow the conversion of glucose into more complex sugars) or chromoplasts (store carotenes, a type of pigment).
  • Golgi apparatus. This is a set of 80 dictiosomes in the cell, i.e. a set of flattened saccules surrounded by a membrane, which have the function of making many of the necessary proteins.
  • Ribosomes. Macromolecular complexes of proteins and RNA, located in the cytoplasm, in the mitochondria and in the endoplasmic reticulum, even in the chloroplasts, and are the main source of protein synthesis, from DNA information that reaches them via mRNA (messenger).
  • Endoplasmatic reticulum. A complex system of cell membranes that encompasses the entire cellular cytoplasm of eukaryotes, in the form of flattened and interconnected sacs, which are divided into two: the rugged body and the smooth, responsible for functions as diverse as lipid metabolism, detoxification or protein synthesis.
  • Mitochondria. Large organs that generate energy from the cell (ATP synthesis).
  • Plasma membrane. Like all cells, they have a membrane that distinguishes the outside from the inside of the cell and allows them to maintain their pressure margins and internal pH.
  • Cellular nucleus. Like all eukaryotic cells, plant cells have a well-defined cell nucleus, where DNA is housed, and which performs specific functions during cell replication.

Animal cell

Unlike vegetable cells, animal cells do not have a cell wall, which makes them more flexible, nor do they have plasmodesms, a central vacuole (with tonoplasts), or any type of plastos, since it does not photosynthesize, but breathe.

The internal structures of the animal cell respond to the metabolism of glucose oxidation, and often, in the case of unicellular beings, are provided with cilia and flagella to move around, which plant cells do not.

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