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Cytoplasm is defined as the jelly-like liquid that fills the inside of a cell.  It is important for the cell because it gives it structure and holds the organelles in place.  Without it, the cell wouldn’t have a shape and would look like a deflated balloon.

What is Cytoplasm?

Image of strawberry jelly

Cytoplasm has a gooey texture, like this strawberry jelly

Cytoplasm is found in both animal cells and plant cells.  The fluid that makes it up the is called “cytosol.” Cytosol is found everywhere inside of the cell except for in the nucleus and the organelles.

Cytosol is mostly made up of water and is colorless.  It has a gooey texture, kind of like jelly – but it probably doesn’t taste as good! So next time you put jelly on your toast, just think of cytosol.

There are lots of different things floating in the cytoplasm. These include organelles, proteins, salt, and other molecules. Without it, all of these things wouldn’t be able to move around the cell to do their job.

Cytoplasm Function

The cytoplasm is an important part of every living cell and it carries out a number of functions for the cell.  First, it is important for giving the cell its shape and size.  Think of it like the water inside of a water balloon – without it, the balloon will deflate and won’t be very useful.

Image of molecules floating in cytoplasm

Molecules and organelles floating in cytoplasm

Secondly, cytoplasm is responsible for helping the cell’s organelles move around the cell.  It can move them around the cell using a system of protein filaments called the cytoskeleton.  It can also move other important material, such as proteins.  It is important for organelles because it helps protect them from damage.

The cytoplasm is also important because many important chemical reactions happen inside of it.  For example, there are special proteins inside of it called enzymes.  These enzymes break down waste inside the cell.  Other processes, such as the process to make proteins, happen inside of it as well.



Written by: Leah Tolby