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The Fundamental

Unit Of Life
• Information and pictorial illustrations to create this
work have been drawn from class notes, prescribed
text books and various internet resources. The
author gratefully acknowledges the same. Any
objections to the use of internet resources may
please be indicated to suddurocks@yahoo.in so that
the same can be removed from the illustrations used
in this file.
• This presentation is created with the sole intention
of benefitting a large number of student community.
This may not be used for any commercial purpose.
Contents :
 About Cells
 Scientists who have contributed to the
discovery of the Cell
 Plasma Membrane

 Cell Wall

 Nucleus

 Cytoplasm

 Cell Organelles
 Endoplasmic Reticulum
 Golgi Apparatus

 Lysosomes

 Mitochondria

 Plastids

 Vacuoles

 Multiple Choice Questions

 Some Interesting Pictures

About Cells
 Cell is the structural and functional
unit of all organisms.

 Cell is the lowest level of

organisation that is Alive.
Some organisms such as Bacteria,
Chalmydomonas,…etc have single celled
body and are called as UNICELLULAR

Organisms which are made up of many

cells are called MULTICELLULAR
 Cells divide to produce cells of their own
kind. All cells thus come from pre-existing
► Thespontaneous movement of a
substance from a region of its high
concentration to the region where its
concentration is low, is called
 OSMOSIS is the passage of water from a
region of high water concentration
through a semi-permeable membrane to a
region of low water concentration.
 Cells are of two types –
(i) Prokaryotic Cells which are simple and
which lack nuclear membrane.
(ii) Eukaryotic Cells which are complex
and their chromatin material is enclosed
by nuclear membrane.
• The three major parts of a cell are :
(i)Plasma Membrane
(ii) Nucleus
(iii) Cytoplasm
 Chromosomes are compact rod like bodies,
which are formed at the time of cell division
from chromatin material (mainly DNA).

 Genes (segments of DNA) are arranged in a

linear order along the chromosomes. A gene
is the functional unit of chromosomes.
Scientists who have contributed to the discovery of the
(i) Robert Hooke – In 1665
- He discovered the cell. He observed the
cells in a cork slice with the help of a primitive
(ii) Leeuwenhoek – In 1674
- He discovered the free living cells in pond
water for the first time.
(iii) Robert Brown – In 1831
- He discovered the nucleus in the
(iv) Purkinje – In 1839
- He coined the term “Protoplasm” for
the fluid substance of the cell.
(v) Schleiden – In 1838 & Schwann –
In 1839
- They presented the cell theory
that all plants and animals are
composed of cells and that the cell is
the basic unit of life.
(vi) Virchow – In 1855
- He further expanded the cell theory by
suggesting that all cells arise from pre-
existing cells.
Plasma Membrane
 Plasma membrane or Cell membrane is the
outermost covering of the cell that separates the
contents of the cell from its environment.
 The plasma membrane allows or permits the
entry and exit of some materials in and out of
the cell.
 It also prevents movement of some materials.

 The cell membrane, therefore is called a

Selectively Permeable Membrane.
 The solution in which water molecules are
more concentrated inside and outside the
cell is called ISOTONIC SOLUTION.

 The solution in which water molecules are

more concentrated inside the cell is called

 The solution in which water molecules are

more concentrated outside the cell is
► Theplasma membrane is flexible and is
made up of organic molecules called

► Theflexibility of the cell membrane also

enables the cell to engulf food and other
material from its external environment.
Cell Wall
 Plant cells have rigid outer covering
called the Cell Wall.

 The cell wall lies outside the plasma

The plant cell wall is mainly composed of
cellulose which is a complex substance
and provides structural strength to plants.
When a living plant cell loses water
through osmosis there is shrinkage or
contraction of the contents of the cell away
from the cell wall. This phenomenon is
known as Plasmolysis.
 The Nucleus has a double layered
covering called Nuclear Membrane.
 The nuclear membrane has pores which
allow the transfer of material from inside the
nucleus to its outside – to the cytoplasm.

 The nucleus contains chromosomes which

are visible as rod-shaped structures only
when the cell is about to divide.
► Chromosomes contain information for
inheritance of features from parents to
next generation in the form of
DNA(Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid) molecules.

► Chromosomes are composed of DNA and

 The Cytoplasm is the fluid content inside the
plasma membrane.
 It also contains many specialised cell

 Each of these organelles performs a

specific function for the cell.
 In prokaryotes, the membrane-bound cell
organelles are absent.

 The eukaryotic cells have nuclear

membrane as well as membrane enclosed
 Cell organelles are enclosed by membranes.

 The significance of membranes can be illustrated

with the example of viruses.
 Viruses lack any membranes and hence do not
show characteristics of life until they enter a
living body.
Cell Organelles
 Every cell has a membrane around it
to keep its own contents separate
from the external environment.
Endoplasmic Reticulum, Golgi Apparatus,
Lysosomes, Mitochondria, Plastids and
Vacuoles are important because the carry
out some very crucial functions in cells.
Endoplasmic Reticulum
The Endoplasmic Reticulum(ER) is a
network of membrane-bound tubes and

It looks like long tubules or round or oblong

 There are two types of ER-
(i)Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum(RER)
(ii) Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum(SER)
► RER looks rough under a microscope
because it has particles called Ribosomes
attached to its surface .

► These
are the sites of protein
 The SER helps in the manufacture of fat
molecules, or lipids, important for cell

 Some of these lipids and proteins help in

building the cell membrane. This process
 Some other proteins and lipids function as
enzymes and hormones.

 SER plays a crucial role in detoxifying many

poisons and drugs.
Golgi Apparatus
 The Golgi Apparatus consists of a system of
membrane-bound vesicles arranged
approximately parallel to each other in stacks
called Cisterns.
 The material synthesized near the ER is
packaged and dispatched to various targets
inside and outside the cell through the golgi

 Its functions include the storage, modification

and packaging of products in vesicles.
 In some cases, complex sugars may be
made from simple sugars in the Golgi

 The Golgi apparatus is also involved in the

formation of lysosomes.
• Lysosomes are a kind of waste disposal
system of the cell.
 Lysosomes help to keep the cell clean by
digesting any foreign material as well as
worn out cell organelles.
 Foreign materials entering the cell such as bacteria or
food as well as old organelles end up in the

 Lysosomes are able to do this because they contain

powerful digestive enzymes capable of breaking down
all organic material.
 During the disturbance in cellular
metabolism, for example, when the
cell gets damaged, lysosomes may
burst and the enzymes digest their
own cell.

 Therefore, lysosomes are also known

as the ‘Suicide Bags’ of a cell.
• Structurally, lysosomes are
membrane bound sacs filled with
digestive enzymes. These
enzymes are made by the RER.
Mitochondria is known as the power house
of the cell.
The energy required for various chemical
activities needed for life is released by
Mitochondria in the form of
ATP(Adenosine Triphosphate) molecules.
► ATP is known as the energy currency of
the cell.

► Thebody uses energy stored in ATP for

making new chemical compounds and for
mechanical work.
 Mitochondria have two membrane coverings.
The outer covering is very porous while the
inner membrane is deeply folded.

 These folds create a large surface area for ATP

generating chemical reactions.
 Mitochondria have their own DNA and
Ribosomes. Therefore, they are able to make
some of their own proteins.
 Plastids are present only in plant
 There are two types of plastids –
(i)Chromoplasts (coloured plastids)
(ii)Leucoplasts (white or colourless plastids)
 Plastids containing the pigment chlorophyll
are known as Chloroplasts. They are
important for photosynthesis in plants.
Chloroplasts also contain various yellow or
orange pigments in addition to chlorophyll.

Leucoplasts are primarily organelles in

which materials such as starch, oils and
protein granules are stored.
The internal organization of the plastids
consists of numerous membrane layers
embedded in a material called Stroma.

Plastids are similar to mitochondria in

external structure.
• Like the Mitochondria, plastids also have
their own DNA and Ribosomes.
► Vacuoles are storage sacs for solid or
liquid contents.
► Vacuoles are small sized in animal cells
while plant cells have very large vacuoles.

► The
central vacuole of some plant cells
may occupy 50 – 90% of the cell volume.
 In plant cells vacuoles are full of cell sap and
provide turgidity and rigidity to the cell.

 Many substances of importance in the life of

the plant cell are stored in vacuoles.
Multiple Choice Questions

 Q 1 : Which of the following scientists

coined the term “cell” ?
(a) Leeuwenhoek

(b) Purkinje

(c) Robert Hooke

(d) Robert Brown

Answer :

Option :
(c) Robert Hooke.
Q 2 : The power house of the cell is
(a)Golgi Apparatus
(b) Chloroplast
(c) Mitochondria
(d) Vacuoles
Answer :

Option :
(c) Mitochondria.
 Q 3 : The process of selective movement
of substances through a semi-permeable
membrane is called
(a) Osmosis
(b) Diffusion
(c) Plasmolysis
(d) None
Answer :

Option :
(b) Diffusion.
 Q 4 : Plasmolysis occurs due to

(b) Exosmosis

(c) Absorption

(d) Diffusion
Answers :
Option :
(b) Exosmosis.
 Q 5 : Ribosomes are the centre for
(a)Fat Synthesis
(b) Protein Synthesis
(c) Starch Synthesis
(d) Sugar Synthesis
Answer :
Option :
(b) Protein Synthesis.
Q 6 : Which of the following cell
organelle is called as the suicide bag
of a cell ?
(b) Lysosomes
(c) Plastids
(d) Golgi Apparatus
Answer :

Option :
(b) Lysosomes.
►Q 7 : Which of the cell organelle is
involved in the formation of
lysosomes ?
(b) Golgi Apparatus
(c) Plastids
(d) Endoplasmic Reticulum
Answer :
Option :
(b) Golgi Apparatus.
 Q 8 : Which of the following organelles
possesses its own DNA and Ribosomes ?
(a) Mitochondria

(b) Lysosomes

(c) Golgi Apparatus

(d) Endoplasmic Reticulum

Answer :
Option :
(a) Mitochondria.
Q 9 : The functions of which of the
organelle include storage,
modification and packaging of
products in vesicles ?
(b) Vacuoles
(c) Golgi Apparatus
(d) Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum
Answer :
Option :
(c) Golgi Apparatus.
Q 10 : Stroma is present in
(b) Leucoplast
(c) Endoplasmic Reticulum
(d) Lysosomes
Answer :
Option :
(b) Leucoplast.
Some Interesting Pictures
Thank You !!!

Compiled By :
Sudarshan . S . K .

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