Cell - The Nucleus of Life and its Functions
Know your Body

Cell:The Nucleus of Life

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 17 Jan 2014 - 15:48.

The human body comprising of several organs and tissues contain millions of various types of cells. Each human cell is unique by itself and forms the basic unit of  life. Different tissues have different types of cells but the basic cell pattern is standard in structure. 

The cell is the smallest unit of life of our bodies. The human body comprises of varieties of cells like brain cells, skin cells, liver cells, stomach cells and the list continues... In other words each part of the body be it an organ, a tissue, a blood vessel or a nerve has its own cells that enable the respective part to function.

All these cells have unique functions and features. All cells to whichever part of the body they belong to, have recognizable similarities.

Cell Structure: All cells have a skin; like the body skin called the plasma membrane. This membrane protects the cell from the external environment and regulates the entry and the exit of the water, nutrients and the waste in and out of it.

Inside the cell membrane are the working parts of a cell. The cell nucleus is at the center. of the cell. It contains its DNA which acts as the genetic code to co-ordinate synthesis of proteins. Besides the nucleus, the cell contains many organelles which are tiny structures that act as principal messengers to carry out the day-to- day operations of the cell. One important cellular organelle is called ribosome, which  synthesises proteins as its important function. 

Protein Synthesis: Proteins are syntheised in few phases. The first phase is called transcription phase. This takes place in the cell nucleus. During the next phase the mRNA leaves the cell nucleus and travels to the ribosomes where translation of the set tasks takes place. 

Another important cellular organelle is known as mitochondrion, as a group of mitochondria, responsible for the production of energy and hence known as power plants.

Yet another important phase in the life of a cell are the lysosomes which are a type of organelle that help and aid in the digestion of nutrient molecules and other materials with the help of the enzymes they contain.

Cell function:The cells come in different sizes each with a different form and function.The largest cell is of the size of an ostrich egg. They transform to such a minute size that a million of these can be accommodated on the head of a small pin.

Every function performed by the body are in effect done by the respective group of cells. For example to bend a hand to eat food –a group of muscles come together to perform the function and each muscle is governed by a group of cells. If we want to translate the image of an object to its real shape the brain cells direct the rod cells in the eye to carry out the function.

A complex chemical reaction takes place with the help of a substance called   ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate). ATP is a universal power source to supply energy and perform all functions in the human body.

All the cells have mitochondria except the red blood cells which move from place to place through the blood stream.

Reproduction: The unique feature of a cell is reproduction of a live baby from the fusion of a female egg and a male sperm. A series of cell division takes place until three trillion cells are manufactured in the off spring. The fertilized egg stores enormous amount of information. The best example for the stored information is the chromosomes which determine everything about the to be born baby, including its sex. The cell contains coded information about what ought to be the size, shape, color, intelligence and other aspects of the baby to be born. The cell in question is capable of giving advanced information as to how the baby should look like and what diseases the baby might be subjected to. 

The miracle of creation takes place with the help of the wonder substance the DNA (Deoxyrebo Nuclic Acid) The DNA acts as a dictator giving orders to millions of cells about its behavior, what to manufacture and what to seek or avoid in the day-to-day functions of the body.

The DNA is like an architect responsible to design the human being in its totality and assigns these duties to another substance called RNA (Ribo Nucleic Acid) which act as messengers of orders and duties.

The cells have an intricate mechanism of communicating with each other. The viruses are the worst enemies of the human cells. Whenever there is an intrusion of enemies like viruses the concerned cells communicate with the others to form an army of cells to destroy the enemy or manufacture an antibody to fight with the intruder.

To describe every function of each cell in the minutest detail will need reams of paper. We can sum this up by emphasizing that it is these cells which maintain life from its beginning to the end of life. How more than 60 trillions of these cells function in harmony and ensure efficient performance of manifold duties and functions is a wonder in itself – unexplainable. It is a supreme wonder!

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.