Depending on the type of animal cell in question, some cellular components listed below may not be found in every animal cell. However, the components listed below are typical components found in most animal cells. There are 13 main components of an animal cell:
Animal cells have several distinct parts, including:
- Cell membrane: also known as the plasma membrane, it acts as a barrier that separates the internal contents of the cell from the external environment.
- Cytoplasm: the gel-like substance that fills the cell and in which all the cell’s organelles are suspended.
- Nucleus: the control center of the cell, it contains the cell’s genetic material or DNA.
- Mitochondria: the “powerhouses” of the cell, they convert energy from food into a form that the cell can use.
- Endoplasmic reticulum (ER): This organelle works together with the Golgi apparatus to process and transport molecules within the cell.
- Ribosomes: These organelles are responsible for making proteins.
- Centrioles: These organelles help with cell division.
- Vacuoles: These are membrane-bound sacs that store materials such as water, enzymes, and waste products.
- Cytoskeleton: This is a network of protein fibers that provides shape and support to the cell, as well as helps in cell movement.
- Nucleolus: It is a small, dense structure within the nucleus, it helps in the production of ribosomes.
- Vesicles: These are small, membrane-bound organelles that transport materials within the cell and between organelles. They can be classified based on their content and function, such as secretory vesicles, endosomes, lysosomes, etc.
- Nuclear membrane: Also known as the nuclear envelope, it surrounds the nucleus and controls the movement of materials in and out of the nucleus. It is composed of two lipid bilayers, and it has several different structures such as the Nuclear Pore Complex (NPC) and the Nuclear Lamina that play important roles in the regulation of gene expression and cell division.
- The Golgi apparatus, also known as the Golgi complex, is an organelle that works together with the endoplasmic reticulum to process and transport molecules within the cell.