Related topics: protein · cancer cells · cancer · stem cells · immune system

Unexpected insights into the dynamic structure of mitochondria

As power plants and energy stores, mitochondria are essential components of almost all cells in plants, fungi and animals. Until now, it has been assumed that these functions underlie a static structure of mitochondrial membranes. ...

Bacteria get free lunch with butterflies and dragonflies

For humans, trade is second nature and civilizations have flourished and fallen with the fate of their trade. In fact, the mutual scratching of backs is a cornerstone of many animal societies. On the other hand, deep and ...

New technique tracks individual protein movement on live cells

The piece of gold that Richard Taylor was thrilled to track down weighed less than a single bacterium. Taylor, a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute, was working to follow individual nanogold-labeled molecules ...

Researchers discover how cells clear misfolded proteins from tissues

Researchers in Japan have identified a new quality control system that allows cells to remove damaged and potentially toxic proteins from their surroundings. The study, which will be published February 18 in the Journal of ...

Gaining more control over fuel cell membranes

More organization at the molecular level could improve the efficiency of membranes used in the hydrogen fuel cells that provide energy to electric cars and other industrial applications, according to a review published in ...

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Cell (biology)

The cell is the structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of an organism that is classified as living, and is often called the building block of life. Some organisms, such as most bacteria, are unicellular (consist of a single cell). Other organisms, such as humans, are multicellular. (Humans have an estimated 100 trillion or 1014 cells; a typical cell size is 10 µm; a typical cell mass is 1 nanogram.) The largest known cell is an unfertilized ostrich egg cell.

In 1835 before the final cell theory was developed, a Czech Jan Evangelista Purkyně observed small "granules" while looking at the plant tissue through a microscope. The cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, states that all organisms are composed of one or more cells. All cells come from preexisting cells. Vital functions of an organism occur within cells, and all cells contain the hereditary information necessary for regulating cell functions and for transmitting information to the next generation of cells.

The word cell comes from the Latin cellula, meaning, a small room. The descriptive name for the smallest living biological structure was chosen by Robert Hooke in a book he published in 1665 when he compared the cork cells he saw through his microscope to the small rooms monks lived in.

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