Cytoplasm | Introduction, Structure & Functions


What is Cytoplasm?

The intracellular cell content that possesses both soluble and insoluble constituents present in the cell is called the cytoplasm. The cytosol is the soluble liquid portion of the cytoplasm is known as cytosol. The cytosol is the place in which the organelles are immersed. The cytosol is also recognized as a cell sap. Cell sap contains water, proteins, lipids, and numerous other solutes and is highly viscous in nature. In the cytosol some important metabolic processes for example glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, activation of amino acids and biosynthesis of fatty acids.

Cytoplasm Diagram:

Function of Cytoplasm

Cytoplasm Structure

In cell biology, the protoplasm may be an extremely viscous (gel-like) substance that is fenced inside the plasma membrane. It’s composed of about 85 % water, 10 to 15 % proteins, 2 to 4 % lipids, nucleic acids, inorganic salts and polysaccharides in smaller amounts.

The cells, protoplasm consist of Granules of insertions which help to keep nutrients and pigments. A majority of cell organelles such as Ribosome, Golgi complex, Endoplasmic Reticulum, are placed within the protoplasm. For this reason, most of the metabolic activities occur inside the protoplasm.

* Organelles are a part of the cytoplasm.

* The protoplasm makes up nine-tenths of the whole cell.

Cytoplasm Composition

The physical nature of the cytoplasm is colloidal. Chemically it is a fluid that contains 90% water and 10% mixture of organic & inorganic compounds. The cytoplasm has different staining properties. The cytoplasm contains almost 20-25 % soluble proteins. In small quantity contains carbohydrates, inorganic salts, lipids, and lipoidal substances.

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Cytoplasm Description:

Recent discoveries regarding the cytoplasm:

Recent findings related to the cytoplasm are described below:

  • The cytoplasm of the Bacterial cell display glass-like possessions on the basis of activity.
  • In the embryo of fish Yolk separation from the cytoplasm is very critical for the fish development from the larva.
  • The presence of “Atypical Centriole” within the cytoplasm has been linked with sterility, birth defects, and miscarriages in the individuals.
  • Diverse cellular organelles consist of different “sensation” or involvement in the cytoplasm

Cytoplasm Location

As in the above information it is clearly mentioned, the cytoplasm is fenced inside the plasma membrane. With regard to its particular location, however, this can be fascinated with the type of cell. For example, in eukaryotic cells, the protoplasm is found between the cell membrane/plasma membrane and the Nuclear Membrane or Nuclear Envelope. This nuclear envelope separates the nucleus from the other cellular organelles of the cell. As a result, the protoplasm is restricted to the area between the nuclear membrane and therefore the plasma membrane.

While in the Prokaryotes, on the opposite hand, lack a real nucleus. As a result, there’s no nuclear membrane separating genetic material (DNA) from the opposite organelles of the cell. In prokaryotes, then, the protoplasm occupies the whole cell surroundings (within the plasma membrane). During this case, all cellular components/organelles, together with the genetic material, are suspended within the protoplasm.

With regard to location, the cytoplasm is additionally divided into two layers. These are named as the Ectoplasm and also the Endoplasm.


Ectoplasm Introduction

Ectoplasm – this is basically the outer layer of the protoplasm. It’s situated just below or adjacent to the cell membrane. In such cells and in rhizopod, this layer of the protoplasm is clearly visible given its location.

Some of the most characteristics of the ectoplasm include:

  • Non-granulated
  • Less dense
  • Thin and shallow
  • Comprises simple Actin filaments in high numbers.

In amoeba, the ectoplasm plays a very important role in locomotion. This can be achieved through changes within the acidity and pH of water in the ectoplasm.

Here, changes in alkalinity/acidity of the water can become the basis of fluctuation in the quantity of water within the pseudopodium and it alters. As a result, the organism changes direction looking at the elongation or shortening of pseudopodium due to the concentration of water.

Endoplasm Introduction

Endoplasm – in contrast to the ectoplasm, the endoplasm is that the inner layer of the protoplasm. As such, it’s situated deeper within the cell wherever it surrounds the nucleus. It contains several granules (secretory vesicles) and is, therefore, denser compared to the ectoplasm.
Some of the different parts of the endoplasm include:

  • Amino acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Enzymes
  • Water
  • Inorganic Ions
  • Various molecular compounds

Endoplasm contains various of organelles of the Endomembrane system. It’s basically the location for most of the biological processes that occur inside the cell.

Like the ectoplasm, the endoplasm additionally plays a very important role in locomotion. Here, the endoplasm flows and fills pseudopods outgrowths Pseudopodium wherever it’s regenerate into ectoplasm.

Change within the pH or acidity of this fluid then changes the concentration of water creating it possible for the organism to move or transport in a very specific direction (depending on the placement of food substances).


Cytosol Introduction

The cytosol is basically the liquid body substance or intracellular fluid of the cytoplasm. it’s mostly composed of water (over seventy percent) and surrounds all organelles located/suspended within the cytoplasm. a number of the various other constituents of cytosol contains soluble molecules of variable size, proteins present similarly as dissolved ions.

Cytosol Characteristics

Characteristics of cytosol are described below:

  • 7.0 -7.4 pH range
  • Viscosity the same as water
  • Less than 0.0002 millimeters of Ca ions concentration
  • High quantity of charged macromolecules

Cytosol Functions

Functions of Cytosol described below :

  • As the Cytosol of the cytoplasm, the intracellular fluid is helpful in signal transduction originating from the plasma membrane.
  • It contributes to the transduction of signals from the cell membrane to the nucleus (with the nucleus being the effective site).
  • Apart from its role in communication, the cytosol is additionally concerned with the transportation of metabolites (e.g. amino acids in eukaryotic cells).
  • In addition it also able to provide an area to perform various chemical activities and metabolic chemical reactions in prokaryotes.
  • The distinction between cytoplasm and cytosol lies within the fact that cytosol is that the fluid (intracellular fluid) of the cell whereas cytoplasm consists of all cell parts inside the plasma membrane (excluding the nucleus).


Cytoplasmic Structure

The protoplasm is generally composed of water (water is the largest component). With the exception of water, sugars, inorganic salts and different organic elements are present. the protoplasm is additionally composed of many organelles.

The Endomembrane system consists of:

  • Golgi Apparatus
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Endosomes
  • Lysosomes
  • Vacuoles

The cytoskeleton consists of:

  • Microtubules
  • Microfilaments
  • Intermediate filaments

Different parts of the protoplasm have completely different functions that contribute to performing the proper functioning of the cell. Whereas the endomembrane systems play a crucial role within the transport of many materials. The cytoskeleton helps to support the structural integrity of the cell.


Cytoplasm Functions

The function of Cytoplasm are described below:

  1. It is the site of many biochemical reactions that are vital and crucial for maintaining life.
  2. It is the place where the cell expands and the growth of the cell takes place.
  3. It provides a medium for the organelles to remain suspended.
  4. The cytoskeleton of the cytoplasm provides shape to the cell and it also facilitates movement.I
  5. It also aids in the movement of the different cellular elements.
  6. The enzymes in the cytoplasm metabolize the macromolecules into small parts so that it can be easily available for the other cellular organelles like mitochondria.
  7. It is a means of transport for genetic material.
  8. It also transports the products of cellular respiration.
  9. The cytoplasm acts as a buffer and protects the genetic material of the cell and also the cellular organelles from damage caused due to movement and collision with other cells.
  10. The cytoplasmic organelles are specialized structures that have their own functions like cellular respiration, protein synthesis, etc.
  11. The cytoplasmic inclusions are non-soluble molecules, they are seen floating in the cytoplasm, they act as stored fats and sugars that are ready for cellular respiration.
  12. The cytoplasm and the proteins prevent the grouping of organelles in place due to gravity.