What is Cytosol? | Definition of cytosol
The cytosol in any cell is a complex solution, whose properties allow the functions of life to take place. The cytosol contains proteins, amino acids, mRNA, ribosomes, sugars, ions, messenger molecules, and more!
Although once thought to be a simple solution, scientists are increasingly discovering that the cytosol can have structure and organization. For example, some cells use ion gradients or messenger particles to contain important information that is necessary for later growth.
Some species use the organization of their cytoplasm to direct the growth of embryos from the fertilized egg. In these species, the messenger molecules are distributed differently throughout the egg’s cytoplasm. When the egg divides after fertilization, this results in different daughter cells receiving different messenger molecules and subsequently developing into different types of tissue.
This principle shows the importance and complexity of cytoplasm, which was once thought to be just salt water!
Organelles attached to the membrane float in the cytosol, but their interiors are not considered part of it. Chloroplasts, mitochondria, nuclei, and other closed, self-contained membranes inside cells have their internal fluid and chemistry that is separate from the cytosol.
The cytosol serves as a medium for intracellular processes. This means that it must contain the right proteins, ions, and other ingredients for cytosolic activities.
The main function of Cytosol:
- Enzymatic activities. Enzymes often require certain salt concentrations, pH levels, and other environmental conditions to function properly.
- Signal transduction. Messenger molecules can diffuse through the cytosol to change the functioning of enzymes, organelles, or even DNA transcription. They can be messengers from outside the cell or messengers from one part of the cell to another.
- And the Structural support of the cell and organelles. Most cells depend on the volume of the cytosol to create their shape and create space for chemicals to move within the cell.
- In prokaryotes that lack membrane-bound organelles, virtually all functions of life including DNA transcription and replication, glycolysis, etc. its occur in the cytosol.
What is Cytosol? Cytosol Function