Cells

Animals and plants are multicellular organisms – they consist of many cells that work together.

Animal cell structure

The main parts of an animal cell are the nucleus, cell membrane, cytoplasm and mitochondria.

Diagram of an animal cell with labels for Cytoplasm, nucleus, cell membrane, and mitochondrion.

Plant cell structure

Plant cells contain the same features as animal cells. They also have some additional ones:

  • chloroplasts
  • cell wall made of cellulose
  • large central vacuole
Diagram of  an plant cell with labels for cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm and found in plants only; chloroplast, vacuole, cell wall.

Summary of features found in cells and their functions.

PartFunctionFound in
Cell membraneControls the movement of substances into and out of the cellPlant and animal cells
CytoplasmJelly-like substance, where chemical reactions happenPlant and animal cells
NucleusCarries genetic information and controls what happens inside the cellPlant and animal cells
MitochondriaWhere respiration takes place, releasing energy for the cellPlant and animal cells
Large central vacuoleContains a liquid called cell sap, which keeps the cell firmPlant cells only
Cell wallMade of a tough substance called cellulose, which supports the cellPlant cells only
ChloroplastsContain the green pigment chlorophyll, which absorbs light energy. This is where photosynthesis occurs.Plant cells only