Is Cytoplasm an Organelle? 5 Facts You Should Know


It is not always easy to assume a cytoplasm of a cell to be an organelle. Let us see more facts regarding this topic.

The cytoplasm of a cell is not considered as an organelle. Cytoplasm is basically the area surrounding and filling up the spaces for the organelles in the cell. It is more of like jelly substance which is located between the cell membrane and the nucleus of the cell.

The term “cytoplasm” is a general definition given to all the substances that is found outside the nucleus of a cell, within the plasma membrane. The cytoplasm is basically the solution of the cell that consist of the different organelles such as ribosomes, mitochondria, Golgi complex, etc.

What is a cytoplasm?

Cytoplasm is considered as a thick jell like substance with semi liquid consistency. Let us know more facts about cytoplasm in detail.

According to cell biology, cytoplasm is all of the components of a eukaryotic cell, excluding the cell nucleus, contained within it, which is bounded by the cell membrane. It exists between the nuclear and the cell membrane which helps in covering up the inner part of the cell.

Image Credit: Cytoplasm- Wikipedia

The cell membrane, also known as the plasma membrane of the cytoplasm is generally a membranous layer of bi-lipid. This membrane separates the cell organelles from the outside solution and also from other cells. In plants, cytoplasm flow around the vacuoles within the cell, this phenomenon is known as cytoplasmic streaming.

Why the cytoplasm is not considered as an organelle?

Cytoplasm is the component of the cell but it is not an organelle. Let us know the reason behind it in detail.

Cytoplasm is not considered as an organelle because of the following reasons:

  • It is more of like a matrix that helps in providing the volume of the cell where cell organelles can float freely.
  • The cytoplasm along with the cell wall are usually not described as organelles because they are not “membrane bound”.
  • The cytoplasm is not considered as the ‘active’ unit of the cell, just like other cell organelles such as mitochondria, ribosomes, Golgi apparatus, etc.
  • The fluid matrix of the cell or cytosol, which takes up 70% of the cell’s volume and resembles a jelly, is included in the cytoplasm.
  • In this matrix present in cytoplasm, cell organelles without their membranes or definite structure remain suspended according to their functionality.
  • The cytoplasm do not have a definite shape like the cell organelles.
  • The cell bodies can move freely in cytoplasm, and can reduce the friction to use the cytosol for communicating with each other.
  • The part of the cytoplasm outside of the membrane-bound cell organelles is referred to as the cytosol.
  • The exchange of calcium ions between the cytoplasm and extracellular space is a signaling activity for metabolic activities.

What is considered as an organelle?

An organelle is a term given to the small organs or subunits present inside a cell. Let us discuss more facts about it below.

The term “organelle” refers to the assumption that these structures are components of cells, much like organs are to the body. An organelle is a specialized component with a particular function that is often found within a cell.

The different “workers” present within the cell have specific roles that are represented by organelles, which are essential for a cell to function properly. Studying organelles, or more precisely, cellular organelles, is crucial for comprehending cells and their structural composition.

Image Credit: Organelles of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells- Wikipedia

Organelles are basically thought that are being included within cells. It should be noted that cytoplasm is typically a colorless substance and contains 85% water in it. It is neither clearly defined in terms of shape nor volume. There are many organelles present in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Below are some of the major organelles:

OrganelleMain functionStructureOrganism
Cell membraneDivides the inner part of all cells from the exterior environment (the extracellular space)Two-dimensional liquidAll eukaryotes
Cell wallGives shape to cell, protects the cell from bursting due to osmotic pressureNot specific, variousPlants, protists, rare kleptoplastic organisms
Chloroplast (plastid)Processing photosynthesisDouble membrane compartmentPlants, algae, rare kleptoplastic organisms
Endoplasmic reticulumExpression of the lipids, translation and folding of new proteinsSingle membrane compartmentAll eukaryotes
FlagellumHelps in locomotion, sensoryProteinsFew eukaryotes
Golgi apparatusSorting, packaging, processing and modification of proteinsSingle membrane compartmentAll eukaryotes
NucleusDAN maintenance, RNA transcription, contain genetic information, control all activities of cellDouble membrane compartmentAll eukaryotes
MitochondrionEnergy production, release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)Double membrane compartmentMost eukaryotes
VacuoleTransportation, storage, maintenance of homeostasisSingle membrane compartmentEukaryotes
ChlorosomePhotosynthesisphotosynthetic antenna complexGreen sulfur bacteria
NucleoidTranscription to RNA, maintenance of DNADNA proteinProkaryotes
PlasmidDNA exchangeCircular DNASome bacteria
RibosomeTranslation of RNA into proteinsRNA proteinBacteria and archaea
Different organelles present in the eukaryotic and the prokaryotic cells

What is the difference between the cytoplasm and the organelle?

The cytoplasm and the organelle can be differentiated in many ways. Below are some of the features that separate the two of them:

CytoplasmOrganelle
Cytoplasm is present inside the cell in between cell membrane and nuclear membraneOrganelle is part of the cell that is situated inside the cytoplasm
Cytoplasm gives shape, volume and structure of the cellOrganelles of the cell participate in this process by simply floating in the cytoplasm
Cytoplasm do not have a definite shape instead have a thick gel like consistencyOrganelles have particular shape of their own
Cytoplasm do not possess any membraneWithin the cell organelles may be present with or without a membrane
Cytoplasm is a mixture of many proteins, cytosol, cytoplasmic inclusions along with the other organelles of cells dissolved in itCell organelles are found within the cytoplasm. They have their own kind of network which is bounded inside the organelle’s membrane
Cytoplasm consists of all the metabolic reactions that take place in a cellThe interactions between the organelles and the cytoplasmic inclusions result in different metabolic reactions and processes of cell signalling
The cytoplasmic matrix (cytosol) may change from fluid (solution) to elastic (gel) and vice versa due to many metabolic activities taking place inside the cellNo such exchange is seen in the cell organelles (exchange occurs under certain situations but it is very rare)
The waste materials are eliminated via exocytosis with or without assistance from any other cell organelles that are dispersed in the cytoplasmThe organelles of the cell simply export their wastes to the cytoplasm, rather than storing them inside where they will soon be expelled out of the cell
Cytoplasm remains there and helps in the processes of mitosis and meiosis during cell divisionWith the exception of centrioles, etc., all other cell organelles disappear during cell division and only reappear just before the process of cytokinesis
Difference between the cytoplasm and the organelle

Is cytoplasm granular?

Granular leukocytes, are said to the granular or granulated WBCs, that consists of granules in their cytoplasm. WBCs can be granulated and agranulated. Let us see facts in detail.

Cytoplasm sometimes can be granular due to some special granular substances present in it. This inner fluid substance is called endoplasm which is granular in nature. An effect called macromolecular crowding occurs due to this matrix of large number of dissolved macromolecules like proteins and fibres.

Cytosol does not function as an ideal solution because of this network and thus becomes rough giving granular texture. Numerous granules are found in cytoplasm of granular white blood cells, and their nuclei are lobed. An immune cell kind that contains enzyme-filled granules, small particles that are released during infections, allergic responses, asthma attacks.

Conclusion

Cytoplasm is not considered as an organelle of the cell just like other cell organelles. The majority of cellular functions, including several metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, and procedures like cell division, take place within the cytoplasm. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are the examples of granular leukocytes.

Milanckona Das

Hi, I am Milanckona Das and pursuing my M. Tech in Biotechnology from Heritage Institute of Technology. I have a unique passion for the research field. I am working in Lambdageeks as a subject matter expert in biotechnology. LinkedIn profile link- https://www.linkedin.com/in/milanckona-das-9368981ab

Recent Posts