Picture size and shape between the membranes and other information

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Picture size and shape between the membranes and other information​


The cells structure has a lot to do with it. Notice in the representation of skin that there are different layers. These layers have different functions. Also notice the difference in cell shape within the different layers. The structure-function relationship is a central theme running throughout biology.

Diversity of Cells

Different cells within a single organism can come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They may not be very big, but their shapes can be very different from each other. However, these cells all have common abilities, such as obtaining and using food energy, responding to the external environment, and reproducing. In part, a cells shape determines its function.

Cell Size

If cells are the main structural and functional unit of an organism, why are they so small? And why are there no organisms with huge cells? The answers to these questions lie in a cells need for fast, easy food. The need to be able to pass nutrients and gases into and out of the cell sets a limit on how big cells can be. The larger a cell gets, the more difficult it is for nutrients and gases to move in and out of the cell.

As a cell grows, its volume increases more quickly than its surface area. If a cell was to get very large, the small surface area would not allow enough nutrients to enter the cell quickly enough for the cells needs. This idea is explained in Figure below. However, large cells have a way of dealing with some size challenges. Big cells, such as some white blood cells, often grow more nuclei so that they can supply enough proteins and RNA for the cells requirements. Large, metabolically active cells often have lots of cell protrusions, resulting in many folds throughout the membrane. These folds increase the surface area available for transport of materials into or out of the cell. Such cell types are found lining your small intestine, where they absorb nutrients from your food through protrusions called microvilli.

Scale of Measurements1 centimeter (cm) = 10 millimeters (mm) = 10-2 meters (m)1 mm = 1000 micrometers (µm) = 10-3 m1 µm = 1000 nanometers (nm) = 10-6 m1 nm = 10-3 µm

Figure 2


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