Questions & Answers

Name the two factors on which shape of the cell depends.

Answer Verified Verified
Hint: Cell is the basic structural and functional unit of life. Cell performs different functions like respiration, metabolism, movement, etc. Life of an organism is possible because of the cell. Different functions that the cell performs, give its different shape and size.

Complete answer :
The shape of cell depends upon:
a) Function of the cell. Example- red blood cells are disc shaped to transport more oxygen.
b) Cytoskeleton- The cytoskeletal structure of the cell has various effects on its shape. The cytoskeletal structure consists of microtubules, microfilaments that maintain the framework of the cell.
Additional information: The cells in any organism perform different functions. Based on the functions, the cell has a particular shape. Some examples from the human body are as follows:
a) Red blood cells are disc-shaped with no nucleus as they have to transport oxygen. This shape helps them bind to more oxygen.
b) White blood cells are amoeboid in shape so that they can move around faster. Since the main function of White blood cells is immunity, this shape helps them to engulf pathogens by pseudopodia.
c) The nerve cells are long and thin. Such a shape helps the nerve cells to conduct impulses from long distances to the brain.
Cytoskeleton means the skeleton of the cell. The basic functions of cytoskeleton are:
It provides structural support to the cell, it helps in movement and it helps in transport of substances.
The cytoskeleton consists of three main structures:
Microtubules- They have a diameter of approximately 25nm. They make up the cilia.
Microfilaments- They have a diameter of approximately 7nm. They are involved in movement of the entire cell. They play a role during cell division.
Intermediate filaments- They have a diameter of approximately 10nm. They are mainly responsible to provide structural support to the cell.

Note: Cell shape can be discussed with respect to every organism. The idea still remains the same.
For example-
> Guard cells are kidney bean shaped so that it facilitates in opening and closing of the stomata.
> Xylem cells are pipeline shaped to facilitate transport of water.
> Amoeba changes its shape to take up food.
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