Human cheek cells are the same as other skin cells except they also provide the mucous membrane surrounding the inside of the mouth. Cheek cells are able to function as the mucous membrane because they do not contain the gene that tells them to dry and firm up like most skin cells.
In the middle of the cell is the nucleus, where the DNA is located. The DNA contains the genes (chromosomes).
Within the cell, outside of the nucleus, are the ribosomes. These tiny organelles, or organs of the cell, help with the synthesis of protein.
Mitochondria are the power plants of the cell. Mitochondria produce energy for the cell to function. They process oxygen and nutrients into the fuel currency of the cell, adenosine tri-phosphates. Mitochondria are located outside of the nucleus.
Dispersed throughout the cell are the lysosomes. These organelles contain enzymes that digest nutrients. After digestion, these nutrients form simple compounds.
The cell membrane, or plasma membrane, acts as the container of the organelles, such as the ribosomes, lysosomes and mitochondria as well as the nucleus. It also acts very much like the skin, protecting the cell from any harmful outside elements. The membrane also regulates the movement of water, nutrients and wastes in and out of the cell.
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