Cellular processes presented with eye catching GIFs

Cell biology is a scientific discipline that studies cells – their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level. Cell biology research encompasses both the great diversity of single-celled organisms like bacteria and protozoa, as well as the many specialized cells in multicellular organisms such as humans, plants, and sponges. The article presents cellular processes with their respective animations.

1) Active Transport

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It is a process where a cell uses energy to move molecules from a low concentration to a high concentration. Special proteins called carrier proteins are used to move molecules from one side of the membrane to the other.

2) Passive Transport

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The movement of molecules through the plasma membrane from a high concentration area to a low concentration area is termed as the passive transport. Smaller molecules such as glucose (C6H12O6), oxygen (O2), amino acids, carbon dioxide (CO2), and water (H2O) can diffuse right through like air through a screen door. Larger molecules such as polysaccharides, proteins, and lipids cannot fit, because they are too big and since no energy is required, the process is termed as passive transport.

3) Cell Adhesion

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Cell adhesion is the binding of a cell to a surface or substrate, such as an extracellular matrix or another cell. Adhesion occurs from the action of proteins, called cell adhesion molecules. Examples of these proteins include selectins, integrins, and cadherins. Cellular adhesion is essential in maintaining multicellular structure. Cellular adhesion can link the cytoplasm of cells and can be involved in signal transduction. Cell adhesion is also essential for the pathogenesis of infectious organisms.

4) Cell Division

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Cell division is the process by which a parent cell divides into two or more daughter cells. Cell division usually occurs as part of a larger cell cycle. In eukaryotes, there are two distinct type of cell division: a vegetative division, whereby each daughter cell is genetically identical to the parent cell (mitosis), and a reductive cell division, whereby the number of chromosomes in the daughter cells is reduced by half, to produce haploid gametes (meiosis). The first animation shows the different stages of Mitosis whereas the second animation shows Meiosis.

5) Cell Signaling

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Cell signaling is part of a complex system of communication that governs basic cellular activities and coordinates cell actions. The ability of cells to perceive and correctly respond to their microenvironment is the basis of development, tissue repair, and immunity as well as normal tissue homeostasis. Proteins are the eyes and ears of the cell. In this animation, a hormone (H) binds to a transmemembrane protein receptor. The receptor becomes activated by binding to a phosphate (red sphere). The receptor then adds a phosphate to the next protein in the signaling array, and so on. The signaling array culminates in the activation of enzyme. Hence, an external signal has affected the internal biochemistry of the cell.

6) DNA Repair

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DNA repair is a collection of processes by which a cell identifies and corrects damage to the DNA molecules that encode its genome. In human cells, both normal metabolic activities and environmental factors such as UV light and radiation can cause DNA damage, resulting in as many as 1 million individual molecular lesions per cell per day.Many of these lesions cause structural damage to the DNA molecule and can alter or eliminate the cell’s ability to transcribe the gene that the affected DNA encodes. The animation shows DNA Ligase, an enzyme that seals new base – pairings during DNA replication.

7) Metabolism


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Glycolysis is the metabolic pathway that converts glucoseC6H12O6, into pyruvate, CH3COCOO + H+. The free energy released in this process is used to form the high-energy compounds ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and NADH (reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide).


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Photosynthesis converts light energy into the chemical energy of sugars and other organic compounds. This process consists of a series of chemical reactions that require carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) and store chemical energy in the form of sugar. Light energy from light drives the reactions. Oxygen (O2) is a byproduct of photosynthesis and is released into the atmosphere.

8) Transcription

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Transcription is the first step of gene expression, in which a particular segment of DNA is copied into RNA by the enzyme RNA polymerase. Both RNA and DNA are nucleic acids, which use base pairs of nucleotides as a complementary language that can be converted back and forth from DNA to RNA by the action of the correct enzymes. During transcription, a DNA sequence is read by an RNA polymerase, which produces a complementary, antiparallel RNA strand called a primary transcript.

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