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basic unit of life

cell differentiation

process by which a cell becomes specialized for a specific structure or function


group of similar cells that perform a particular function


control center of the cell; contains DNA


material between the cell membrane and the nucleus

plasma membrane

thin flexible barrier that regulates what enters and exits the cell; composed of two layers of lipids


small, dense region within most nuclei in which the assembly of proteins begins

nuclear membrane

highly porous membrane that separates the nucleus from the cytoplasm


long strands of DNA wrapped around proteins; condenses to form chromosomes

nuclear pore

regulates materials passing through nuclear membrane

intracellular fluid

fluid residing inside the cells that provides the medium for cellular reactions

extracellular fluid

all body fluid other than that contained within cells; includes plasma and interstitial fluid


fluid portion of the cytoplasm


specialized structure that performs specific functions within cell

free ribosome

floats around in cytoplasm; makes proteins that will stay within the cell

fixed ribosome

ribosome bound to the endoplasmic reticulum; makes proteins for export outside the cell

smooth endoplasmic reticulum

no attached ribosomes; three main functions: intracellular transport, lipid synthesis, drug and alcohol detoxification

rough endoplasmic reticulum

has attached ribosomes; produces membrane and secretory proteins

Golgi apparatus

stack of membranes in the cell that modifies, sorts, and packages proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum


organelle that contains digestive enzymes


organelles that contain the hydrogen peroxide produced by lipid metabolism; convert the toxic hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen using catalase


organelles that convert the chemical energy stored in food into ATP through cellular respiration


network of protein fibers that holds the cell together, helps the cell to keep its shape, and aids in movement


thin, solid protein fibers that provide structural support for the cell


tubes of protein; form the mitotic spindle during cell division, form cilia and flagella, and are used for intracellular structure and transport


projections that increase the cell's surface area


short, hair-like structures made of microtubules that enable movement of cells or movement of materials outside a cell


hair-like projection on a sperm cell that makes it motile

phospholipid bilayer

double layer of phospholipids that makes up plasma and organelle membranes

selective permeability

property of the plasma membrane that allows it to control movement of substances into or out of the cell

passive transport

movement of materials through a cell membrane without using energy

active transport

energy-requiring process that moves material across a cell membrane against a concentration gradient

simple diffusion

movement of molecules across the cell membrane from high to low concentration


diffusion of water


when the concentrations of solutes outside and inside the cell are equal


when the concentration of solute molecules outside the cell is lower than the concentration in the cytosol


when the concentration of solute molecules outside the cell is higher than the concentration in the cytosol

facilitated diffusion

movement of specific molecules across cell membranes from high to low concentration through protein channels

exchange pump

carrier mechanism that moves ions in opposite directions against their concentration gradients requiring energy


process by which vesicles release their contents outside the cell by fusing with the cell membrane


process by which a cell takes material into the cell by infolding of the cell membrane to form a vesicle


process in which extensions of cytoplasm surround and engulf large particles and take them into the cell


process by which certain cells engulf extracellular fluid


period of the cell cycle between cell divisions


division of the cell nucleus


first and longest phase of mitosis, during which the chromosomes become visible


second phase of mitosis, during which the chromosomes line up across the center of the cell


third phase of mitosis, during which the chromosome pairs separate and move toward opposite poles


last phase of mitosis, chromosome are in two new cells and nuclear membranes start to reform


division of the cytoplasm


uncontrolled cell division


a mass of abnormal cells


not cancerous




process by which cancer cells spread from their original site through blood or lymph


tissue that covers all free surfaces of the body

connective tissue

tissue that binds, supports, and protects body structures, includes cartilage, tendons, fat, blood


lacking a blood supply


containing blood vessels


provide physical and functional support to neurons in the brain and spinal cord


ability to respond to stimuli


ability to conduct an electric current

stem cell

unspecialized cell that can develop into a specialized cell under the right conditions

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