Cytoplasm Structure and Function

The cytoplasm is a concentrated solution filled with each cell and surrounded by a cell membrane. It is mainly made up of water, salt, and protein. In eukaryotic cells, it includes everything inside and outside the nucleus. All organs of eukaryotic cells, such as the nucleus, cytoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria, are located in the cytoplasm. The part of the cytoplasm which is not contained in the organelle is called cytoplasm. The morphology of a protein scaffold called the cytoskeleton provides the structure of the cells.

Picture Cytoplasm


Cytoplasmic Structure

As mentioned earlier, Its mainly made up of water (water is the largest component). In addition to water, sugar, inorganic salts, and other organic components, the cytoplasm is made up of various organelles (which also form the inner membrane system) and the cytoskeleton.

The membrane system includes the following:

  • Golgi complex
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Endosomes
  • Lysosomes
  • Vacuoles
  • Microtubules
  • Microfilaments
  • Intermediate filaments

Cytoplasmic Functions

Essentially, the function of the cytoplasm can be attributed to its components.

Some of these features include:


It is involved in many forms of transport. The endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus are two components of the inner membrane system. They are systems that transfer substances (proteins and lipids, respectively) from one point in the cell to another.

On the other hand, the cytoplasm also participates in cell waste transport and subsequently removes waste through structures called vesicles.

Maintain the shape and structure of cells

As mentioned earlier, the cytoplasm is a viscous matrix composed mainly of water. By applying external pressure (expansion pressure) to the cell membrane, it contributes to the overall shape of the cell.

In addition to the pressure emitted by the fluid, it promotes the cell’s shape and structure through its cytoskeleton. As previously mentioned, the cytoskeleton is composed of microtubules and microfilaments (and intermediate filaments).

Like the skeletal system of higher animals, the cytoskeleton also contributes to the size of cells on the plasma membrane.


It is made up of viscous cytosol, which protects the various components of the cell by absorbing some shock cushions that can damage the organelle.

Here the cytoplasm protects the internal components of the cell by acting as a barrier between inside and outside.


Various molecules (lipids, fats, starch, etc.) can be found floating in the cytoplasm. Some of these molecules are used to construct various structures of cells. However, before use, these molecules will float in the cytoplasm where they are stored.

Therefore, the cytoplasm of some cells may contain high levels of a given molecule. For example, adipocytes are good examples of cells that accumulate large amounts of lipids in the cytoplasm.

Metabolic activity site

Many enzymes can be found in the cytoplasm. Therefore, a metabolic site for many substances. However, these activities occur more frequently in organisms such as mitochondria.

* It is worth noting that, like chloroplasts and cell nuclei, mitochondria are not part of the inner membrane system.

Some other functions of the cytoplasm include:

  • Cell movement
  • cell division
  • cell growth

Cytoplasmic Location

Like previously mentioned, the cytoplasm is explained like other cellular components/organelles. However, regarding a specific location, it depends on the cell type. For example, in eukaryotic cells, the cytoplasm is located between the cell membrane/plasma membrane and the nuclear membrane.

Unlike prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells have membrane-bound nuclei. The nuclear envelope separates the nucleus from the rest of the cell. As a result, the cytoplasm is limited to the space between the nuclear membrane and the cell membrane.

On the other hand, prokaryotes lack true nuclei (the DNA material contained in the nuclear envelope). As a result, there is no nuclear membrane that separates the genetic material (DNA) from the rest of the cell.

Then, in prokaryotes, the cytoplasm occupies the entire cellular environment (within the plasma membrane). In this case, all cellular components/organelles, including genetic material, are suspended in.

With respect to location, the cytoplasm is also divided into two layers. These include exoplasm and endoplasm. In most cases, both of these are used to describe the protozoa (especially amoebae), whose structure, position, and function have changed.

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