Q:

What is an animal cell shape?

A:

Quick Answer

Animal cells aren't all shaped the same way; the shape of a specific animal cell depends on its function and where it is in the body. Unlike plant cells, animal cells do not have rigid cell walls that limit them to a rectangular shape.

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Full Answer

Many animal cells appear roughly spherical when viewed through a microscope. Neurons tend to have long protrusions sticking out from a central cell body. Adipose cells, which store fat in the body, tend to be almost perfectly spherical when filled, and become flatter when empty. Muscle cells are elongated, and they can stretch and contract when the organism moves.

The epithelial cells that make up the outer layer of skin tend to be flat and devoid of many of the organelles present in other cells, while the underlying layers of skin have cells that line up in columns or rows. Red blood cells are rounded, with a visible concavity in the center. Immune cells change their shape to squeeze into tight spaces between other cells and to stretch around invading bacteria, viruses and particles, surrounding and neutralizing them. Egg cells are typically large and round, while sperm cells have a rounded head and a tail that facilitates movement.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of the cell body?

    A:

    The main function of the cell body of a neuron is to integrate synaptic information and transmit this information to other cells via the axon. The cell body also completes a variety of biochemical processes to keep the neuron functioning properly.

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  • Q:

    How is the shape of a cell related to its function?

    A:

    The shape of a cell dictates the function of that cell. This is more pertinent to animal cells that, unlike plant cells, do not have a rigid cell wall. A misshapen cell cannot properly perform its intended function.

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    How do cells respond to contact with other cells?

    A:

    The way in which a cell responds to contact with other cells depends on the function and activity of both cells. Most normal cells cease division if they come into contact with other cells; however, cells of the immune system interact directly with pathogens or foreign organisms to destroy them.

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  • Q:

    How do you define "animal cell"?

    A:

    An animal cell is defined as a eukaryotic cell in which all the organelles are contained in membranes. Organelles included in an animal cell are a nucleus, the centrioles, an endoplasmic reticulum, a golgi complex, lysosomes, the mitochondria and ribosomes.

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