Plant cells differ from animal cells in three major ways: their components, their function and the structures they build. Plant cells are typically more rigid than animal cells; they do not move, and they are able to synthesize all the chemical compounds needed by the organism. Animal cells must receive at least some of their nutrients from an outside source.
Plant cells differ in structure from animal cells in that they have a cellulose wall that braces their plasma membranes. Animal cells lack this wall and therefore move with less difficulty than typical plant cells. Plant cells are eukaryotic, just as animal cells are, so both have a discrete nucleus. The nucleus of a plant cell, however, is usually localized in one spot near the wall of the cell, while an animal cell has a central nucleus that is not rigidly confined.
Plant cells contain chloroplasts, organelles that animal cells lack, and have an internal chemical balance that favors the synthesis of sugars and proteins from sunlight. Animal cells depend on input from outside sources to obtain their energy, which is generated by organelles called mitochondria. Animal cells store energy in the form of glycogen, while plant cells typically use starch.