About This Chapter
Cell Structure & Function Overview - Chapter Summary
Every living creature, from the tiniest speck of bacteria to the mighty blue whale, is composed of cells. In this chapter, you will learn about the fundamentals of cell biology, including cell theory, the factors that determine cell size, and the characteristics of cellular structures. Each brief lesson introduces you to a new topic related to cell biology, while lesson quizzes are here to help you keep up with the material and test what you have learned. This content is always available for review from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. Working through all of the lessons in this chapter will help you:
- Understand and explain the three principles of cell theory
- Distinguish between prokaryotes, eukaryotes and viruses
- Understand why cells are so small and how they can overcome size limitations
- Describe the inner workings and structures of bacteria
- Summarize the nucleus, its function and its parts
- Explain ribosomes and their roles as genetic translators
- Describe the cellular endomembrane system and its components
- Identify the purpose and parts of the cytoskeleton
- Define and describe mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell
1. What is Cell Theory? - Definition & Parts
Cell theory is a fundamental theory in biology that makes generalizations about cells. This lesson will help you understand the three main principles of cell theory.
2. Cell Size & Scale: Surface Area, Volume Ratio & Organelles
In this lesson, we'll be explaining the limitations of cell size, specifically the surface area to volume ratio. Then, we'll look at organelles that help cells overcome these limitations.
3. Do Bacteria Cells Have Organelles?
Bacteria are inside of you, but what is inside of them? This lesson discusses the internal structure of bacteria and whether or not they have organelles.
4. Cellular Structure: Function & Definition
Living organisms are divided into two major types, prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This lesson describes the structure and functions of these two cell types. When you are through, you can test your understanding with a quiz.
5. Structure of the Nucleus: Nucleolus, Nuclear Membrane, and Nuclear Pores
In this lesson, we'll discuss the organization and importance of the nucleus in your cells. This is the membrane-bound structure responsible for containing all the genetic material essential to making you who you are.
6. The Ribosome: Structure, Function and Location
The ribosome is the cellular structure responsible for decoding your DNA. In this lesson, we'll learn about ribosome structure, function and location - characteristics that make it a very good genetic translator.
7. The Endomembrane System: Functions & Components
In this lesson, we'll learn about the endomembrane system, which consists of the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. This system is important in making, packaging, and shipping all sorts of goodies for the cell to use!
8. The Cytoskeleton: Microtubules and Microfilaments
In this lesson, we'll learn about the cytoskeleton of your cells. This network of microtubules, intermediate filaments, and microfilaments helps different types of cells maintain a unique set of characteristics, including shape and movement.
9. Mitochondria Structure: Cristae, Matrix and Inner & Outer Membrane
If you want to make it through the day, you're going to need some energy. In this lesson, we'll learn about the organelle that supplies this energy, the mitochondrion, and why this cell structure appreciates the time you took to eat breakfast this morning!
10. Peroxisomes: Definition, Structure & Functions
This lesson is going to discuss the peroxisomes of the cell. We will look at the structure and function of the peroxisomes as well as how they are formed.
11. Plant Cell Structures: The Cell Wall and Central Vacuole
In this lesson, we'll talk about some of the things that make plant cells so different from our cells. In addition to being mean, green photosynthesizing machines, plant cells have cell walls and central vacuoles to make them unique!
12. Aquaporins: Definition & Function
This lesson focuses on special water channel proteins called aquaporins. Aquaporins allow water to travel across a cell membrane, thus controlling the water balance within a cell.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the Biology 203: Cell & Molecular Biology course
- Biological Molecules
- Cell Membrane & Transport Overview
- Principles of Cell Metabolism
- Photosynthesis Fundamentals
- Cellular Respiration & Fermentation
- Cell Cycles
- Patterns of Genetic Inheritance
- DNA Structure & Replication
- Mutation & DNA Damage
- The Central Dogma of Biology & Protein Synthesis
- Structure & Function of Viruses
- Control of Gene Expression
- Genetic Manipulation Overview