Cell Biology/Glossary

Alpha Helix
DNA forms a specific formation called a alpha helix.
Amino Acid
The basic subunit of proteins.
Atom
One unit of a given element.
Bacteria
Carbohydrate
Carbon
One of the common elements found in organic matter and living things.
Cell Wall
found in prokaryotic plants and it provides structural support and protection.
Chloroplasts
convert light/food into usable energy. (ATP production)
Cholesterol
Found in cell membranes, affects the rigidity of the membrane. Also a basic compound used to form man hormones.
Chromatin
Chromosome
A group of genes/DNA that are contiguous, a functional unit. Humans have 23 pairs chromosomes.
Cilia
Hair-like structures.
Cisternae
The flatten sacs of the Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum.
Crossover
Genetics term for chromosomes literally crossing over DNA from one chromosome to another.
Cyanophytes
One type of prokaryote (cell without a nucleus).
Cytoplasm
the protoplasm outside the nucleus
Cytoskeleton
Microtubules, actin and intermediate filaments. This produces the support structure/shape of cells. Of course plant cells have a much more rigid shape due to the cell wall.
Cytosol
The 'fluid' portion of the cell, it is made up of water and many free proteins and other elements - all except the organelles.
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic Acid, made up of 4 nucleotides: Adenine, Guanine, Thymine, and Cytosine (A,G,T,C).
Element
Element is one atom of a particular substance found on the periodic table. (Things such as Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, etc.)
Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)
Important for protein synthesis. It is a transport network for molecules destined for specific modifications and locations. There are two types: Rough ER - has ribosomes, and tends to be more in 'sheets'. Smooth ER - Does not have ribosomes and tends to be more of a tubular network.
Eukaryote
A Cell with a nucleus.
Flagella
Gene
A section of DNA molecule that produces a functional RNA molecule
Genetic Material
Globular Protein
Glycolipids
Glycoprotiens
Golgi Apparatus
important for glycosylation, secretion.
Histones
Hydrogen
A common element in organic and living organisms.
Hydrophilic
'likes water' (hydro = water; philic = like). Meaning that a hydrophilic molecule or portion would be attracted to water. Much like the opposite poles of a magnet pulling each other together.
Hydrophobic
'fears water' (hydro = water; phobic = fear). Meaning that a hydrophobic molecule or portion would be repulsed/push-away a water molecule. This would be like trying to put together the same pole of two magnets. Examples: oils, fatty acids (i.e. the 'tails' of phospholipids), cholesterol.
Lipid
Lysosomes
Digestive sacks - the main point of digestion, these are only found in animal cells.
Meiosis
is a type of cell division. See section on meiosis. This occurs for formation of egg/sperm cells, which in the end have 1/2 the normal number of chromosomes, only 1 copy of each chromosome.
Micrometer
A unit of measure in the metric system. 10^-6 meters.
Microtubules
made from tubulin, and make up centrioles,cilia,etc.
Millimeter
A unit of measure in the metric system. 10^-3 meters.
Mitochondria
convert foods into usable energy. (ATP production) A mitochondrion does this through aerobic respiration. They have 2 membranes, the inner membranes shapes differ between different types of cells, but they form projections called cristae. The mitochondrion is about the size of a bacteria, and it carries its own genetic material and ribosomes.
Mitosis
The cell division, that is found in most non-reproductive cells.
Nanometer
A unit of measure in the metric system. 10^-9 meters.
Nitrogen
A common element in organic and living organisms.
Nucleic Acid
Basic Building block for DNA.
Nucleolus
Or densely packed portion of the Nucleus.
Nucleus
(only in eukaryotes) - where genetic material (DNA) is located, RNA is transcribed.
Organelles
(which also have membranes) in 'higher' eukaryote organisms:
Osmosis
The diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane down the water potential gradient (from areas of high water potential to areas of low water potential)
Oxygen
A common element in organic and living organisms.
Peptidoglycan
This is the main component of prokaryotic cell walls, it is made from a large protein polymer and sugar.
Peroxisomes
Use oxygen to carry out catabolic reactions, in both plant and animals.
Phospholipid
See the section of the course on Cell Membranes and specifically phospholipids.
Phosphorus
A common element in organic and living organisms.
Plasma membrane
The surface around the cell made up of phospholipids, proteins, cholesterol, etc.. See the section on the Cell Membrane
Plasmid
Plastids
Prokaryote
Cells without a nucleus.
Protein
Protoplasm
the living material in the cell
Pseudopod
literally means 'False foot'
RNA
Ribonucleic Acid
RNApolymerase
Recombination
Ribosomes
half are on the Endoplasmic Reticulum, the other half are 'free' in the cytosol, this is where the RNA goes for translation into proteins.
Sulphur
A common element in organic and living organisms.
Vacuole
Vesicle
tRNA
Transfer RNA, cool 3D structure. It works with the ribosome and mRNA to form proteins (called translation). It has a 'anti-codon' which will match codons of the mRNA, and also has a amino-acid. The tRNA is a key to the having the Amino-acid match a specific codon on the mRNA, See the Codon Table to see how these are matched in general. Please NOTE: There are differences in how the matches take place in mitochondria and bacteria.
Last modified on 19 August 2011, at 16:50