In the Activity : What Do Cells Do?,
you examined some basic structures
& organelles in cells.
Many types of cells also have a
specialized structure that allow the
cells to perform specific functions.
For example, a muscle cell is
specialized for movement,
while a red blood cell is specialized
for carrying oxygen throughout the
In this activity, you will examine the
functions of some specialized cells.
What are the
specialized structures
& functions of cells
Use the instruction sheet to access the
simulation for:
What Do Specialized Cells Do?
View each simulation for each specialized cell.
As you view each simulation, label the
organelles & structures on your mini-card.
Answer the questions that go with each cell.
Cell #1: Neuron
0 Vesicles in the sending cell move to the
membrane & release neurotransmitters
into a space that has ions. The ions move
to a place on the receiving cell’s
membrane & enter the receiving cell. The
flow of ions excites the receiving cell.
0 The cell is involved in sending a signal that
excites another cell.
0 Chemical Synapse Simulation
Cell #2: Pancreatic
0 Insulin moves into a transport vesicle
from the Golgi apparatus & fuses with
another vesicle to make an even bigger
vesicle. Next, glucose comes into the cell
& the vesicle moves to the membrane
where the insulin exits the cell.
0 The cell releases insulin to neighboring
blood capillaries.
0 Diabetes Animation
Cell #3: Muscle
0 The myosin binds to the actin, causing the
myosin to change shape & pull on the actin.
The filaments slide past each other & the
structure becomes shorter. There are lots of
mitochondria near the filaments.
0 The muscle is contracting.
0 Each muscle cell is a single cell. The muscle
cells make up muscle fibers: a bundle of
smaller myofibrils made up of thin (protein
actin) & thick (protein myosin) filaments.
The thin filaments slide to make the muscle
fiber contract. ATP is necessary to make this
process occur!
Cell #4: Intestinal
0 The villi & microvilli are fingerlike
projections from the cell membrane that
increase the surface area for nutrients to
absorb. Nutrients are moving from one side
to another through intestinal absorptive
cells that make up the villi & microvilli.
0 These intestinal cells move nutrients
through the intestine into the capillaries of
the blood.
Cell #5: Macrophage
0 The cell engulfs the microbe & contains in
in a vesicle. The vesicle fuses with a
lysosome & enzymes digest the microbe
into small pieces. Some of these pieces are
displayed on the cell membrane where
they act as receptors for helper T cells.
0 The macrophage engulfs & digests
microbes, such as bacteria, & helps other
cells in the immune system to carry out
their functions.
0 Macrophage Animation
Cell #6: Sperm
0 A set of microtubule doublets use ATP to
crawl & cause bending of the bundle, which
makes the tail whip back & forth. There is a
group of mitochondria surrounding the
segment of the microtubule doublets.
0 This cell is a sperm cell that can swim to an
egg to fertilize!
0 Microtubules are straight, hollow tubes
composed of globular proteins called
tubulins. Microtubules are fibers that make
up the cytoskeleton.
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