What is a Cytoplasm? and Function of the Cytoplasm

What is a cytoplasm?

The internal (protoplasm) of the cells is called the cytoplasm, which occupies the area between the cell nucleus and the plasma membrane. It is a colloidal dispersion of a fluid called cytosol or hyaloplasm, very fine in a granular appearance and composition. It consists of different cell organs and has many molecular reactions.

The cytosol is made up of 70% water, without a stable shape or structure, and inside is the cytoskeleton: a set of filaments of protein origin that give the cell an internal order and allow its movement by connecting its different corners to the cell glucose.

Types of Cytoplasm 

Typically, the cytoplasm can be divided into two Types:

  • Ectoplasm

Ectoplasm. Its outermost region, closer to the plasma membrane, and with a more gelatinous texture. It is usually involved in cell movement.

  • Endoplasm

The endoplasm is the innermost region of the cytoplasm, organized around the nucleus, and where most of the cellular organs are.

The cytoplasm is common to both eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, although they contain a wide variety of organelles.

Function of the Cytoplasm

The cytoplasm performs various functions, the primary of which is the formation of the inner part of the cell, its “body”. Besides, various cellular organelles are placed there and there is communication between them, and various cellular metabolic reactions occur, many of which occur in the endoplasmic reticulum.

At the same time, the cytoplasm allows the mobility of organelles and their replication in the event of cell division, and this, along with the plasma membrane, is the last thing to separate during the mitosis process.

What is the structure of the Cytoplasm?

The cytoplasm contains components of the cytoplasm

In eukaryotic cells, there is a well-defined nucleus that houses all genetic material and plays an important role in cell reproduction. The nucleus itself is wrapped in a membrane and surrounded by the nucleoplasm, thus allowing the exchange of matter with the cytoplasm. Prokaryotic cells, on the other hand, do not have a nucleus.

Plasma Membrane

plasma membrane. It is a membrane with selective permeability that covers the cell and separates its insides from the outside, penetrates desired substances, and exits metabolic waste.

Cellular wall

Cellular wall. Plant cells and fungi have a hard cell wall outside the plasma membrane, which is made up of cellulose (flora) or chitin (fungi).


Mitochondria. They are the energy centers of the cell, where the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, chemical energy molecules) occurs, which uses nutrients from the environment. This is known as cellular respiration.


Chloroplasts plants do photosynthesis, so your cells have chloroplasts: organisms with chlorophyll to get energy from sunlight, and gives them their customary green color.


Lysosomes carry out the function of destroying molecular substances that enter the cell (heterophagy) or are produced by themselves (autophagy), known as cellular digestion.

Golgi apparatus

Golgi apparatus. Similar to animal and plant cells, it acts as a transport channel for proteins and other substances, through a system of vesicles that move in and out of the cytoplasm.

Endoplasmic Reticulum

Endoplasmic Reticulum. It is a series of bags made of interconnected, flattened ducts and fatty acids. 

It is classified into two distinct domains: Rough endoplasmic reticulum covered with ribosomes to carry out protein synthesis of the cell; And smooth endoplasmic reticulum, responsible for the synthesis of lipids, absorption, and release of calcium from the cell and other molecular functions.


Centriole. It is a cylindrical organelle, composed of three triplet microtubules that belong to the cytoplasm, located in the cytoplasm (in diploma). These ducts serve as a guiding axis for transport between organelles and the processes of mitosis or cell division.

Chromatin is the name given to a set of DNA and other proteins that occur in the nucleus itself, that is, cellular genetic material.


Vacuole. These are deposits of enzymes, sugars, proteins or water, used by the cell for storage and various processes. In-plant cells are a single, large one at the center of the cell; On the other hand, the cytoplasm of animals has many small vacuoles.

Cytoplasm diagram of a cell

What is a Cytoplasm? and Function of the Cytoplasm

What is a Cytoplasm? and Function of the Cytoplasm

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