Structure and Function of the Plant Cell

All parts of the plant play a significant role in the proper functioning of the cell.

Cell Wall – The cell wall is a rigid layer that surrounds the plant cells. It is made up of cellulose. Plant cell wall consists of three layers: the primary cell wall, secondary cell wall and the middle lamella. It is located outside the cell membrane whose main function is to provide rigidity, strength, protection against mechanical stress and infection.

Cell Membrane – It is the outer boundary of the cell, it encloses the cytoplasm and the organelles of the cells. The cell membrane is semi permeable, allowing only specific substances to pass through and blocking others.

Chloroplasts – It is an elongated or disc-shaped organelle containing chlorophyll. They have two membranes and have structures that look like stack of coins. They are flattened structures which contain chemical chlorophyll. The process of photosynthesis occurs in this region of the plant cell.

Vacuole – Vacuoles are known as cells storage center. Plant cells have large membrane bound chamber called vacuole. Its main function is storage. Vacuoles are found in the cytoplasm of most plant cells. They are membrane bound organelles, they perform functions of secretion, excretion and storage.

Plasmodesmata – They are microscopic channels which traverse the cell walls of plant cells and enables transport and communication between them.

Golgi complex – The Golgi bodies look like the endoplasmic reticulum and are situated near the nucleus. They are found in almost all eukaryotic cells. Their main function is to process and package macromolecules synthesized from other parts of the cell. The Golgi apparatus is referred to as the cell’s packaging center.

Ribosomes – Ribosomes are smallest and the most abundant cell organelle. It comprises of RNA and protein. Ribosomes are sites for protein synthesis. The ribosomes are known as the protein factories of the cell.

Endoplasmic reticulum – Endoplasmic reticulum is a membrane bound compartment, which look like flattened sacs lined side by side. It is a large network of interconnecting membrane tunnels. It is composed of both rough endoplasmic reticulum and smooth endoplasmic reticulum.

Mitochondria – Mitochondria are surrounded by two membranes. They are described as the ‘power plants’ of the cell as they convert glucose to energy molecules (ATP). They possess their own hereditary material which help in self-duplication and multiplication.

Plastid – Plastids are cell organelles that store specific things found only in plant cell but absent in animal cells. In plant cell they are found in the cytoplasm. Plastids are spherical or ovoid in shape. They are involved in manufacture and storage of certain important chemical compounds.

Nucleus – It is the control center of the cell. It is bound by a double membrane known as the nuclear envelope. It controls all the activities within the plant cell and stores genetic materials.