Difference Between Cytoplasm and Cytoskeleton 

Cytoplasm and cytoskeleton are two words that come up most often when studying cell biology . While they may seem confusing at first, they are quite different. Let’s understand them.

What is cytoplasm ?
Cytoplasm is a thick, jelly-like fluid found in all types of cells. It exists in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotic cells are primitive cells without any nucleus. Eukaryotic cells have nucleated cells. The cytoplasm within the nucleus is divided and is called the nucleoplasm.

Cytoplasm is very important for the function of plant and animal cells. Every cell has many tiny organelles such as mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, nucleolus, etc. These organelles are suspended in the cytoplasm inside the cell. The cytoplasm consists of water, salts and small amounts of dissolved nutrients. It is colorless and translucent, also known as the cytosol.

The cytoplasm, or cytoplasmic solution, contains many lytic enzymes that help break down larger molecules into smaller ones so that they can be used by organelles. For example, glucose molecules are too large to enter mitochondria for internal respiration. So it is broken down into smaller molecules within the cytoplasm, which are then taken up by mitochondria for further use. Similarly, other proteins, carbohydrates and fats are also partially digested in the cytoplasm before being taken up by other organelles. The waste products of metabolic activity are dissolved in the cytoplasm.

The cytoplasm also aids in the movement of nutrients within the cell. This movement is called cytoplasmic flow. Cytoplasm also prevents organelles from collapsing together by keeping them separate. Cytoplasm gives plant and animal cells a shape. It also acts as a shock absorber when two batteries collide. It protects the organelle to form internal and external convulsions. Many cellular activities such as glycolysis, cell division and other metabolic functions take place in the cytoplasm. When the cell and cytoplasm are considered as three-dimensional structures, the inner granular material is called the endoplasm and the outer, transparent and glassy material is called the cell cortex or ectoplasm. . During any cellular activity, the movement of calcium ions occurs between the cytoplasm and the outer cellular fluid.

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What is the cytoskeleton ?
The term cytoskeleton was first given in 1903 by the Russian scientist Nikolai K Koltsov. The cytoskeleton is an important part of the cytoplasm. It is an intertwined network of protein fibers. The cytoskeleton is very dynamic in nature as it is constantly broken down and rebuilt in parts. It is present in all prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, i.e. plant, animal and fungal cells. The proteins that make up the cytoskeleton in various biological cells are different, with different properties and interactions.

The cytoskeleton of human and animal cells has three major protein components – microfilaments called actin, microtubules called tubulin, and intermediate filaments.

The cytoskeleton is the part of the cytoplasm that helps give cells shape and structure. It also provides mechanical resistance, preventing cells from collapsing. The cytoskeleton contracts and relaxes, allowing cells and their environment to change shape as they move through narrower regions in the body. This function facilitates cell migration.

The cytoskeleton plays a major role in the exchange of signals between cells, the uptake of ions in the extracellular fluid (endocytosis) and the separation of chromosomes during cell division and the division of a mother cell into two daughter cells (cytokinesis). The cytoskeleton facilitates the movement of molecules and nutrients within cells.

The cytoskeleton is also thought to function as a template for building cell walls, and also forms certain structures for cell motility, such as flagella, cilia, lamellipodia, and corpuscles.

The most important example of cytoskeletal function is muscle cell contraction, in which the protein contracts of actin and myosin are elongated to shorten and lengthen the entire muscle.

In conclusion, we can say that the cytoskeleton is an integral part of the cytoplasm and many cytoplasmic functions are due to the presence of the cytoskeleton.

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