Life depends on cells

Cells are the smallest units of life. All living things are made of cells. Some living things, like bacteria, have only one cell. Others, like animals, plants, and mushrooms, often have thousands or even trillions of cells. Within these types of organisms, there are also many different cell types. To get an idea of some of the main features of all of these cells, you can explore an animal, plant, fungal, or bacterial cell in this Cell Anatomy Viewer.

The job of living

To keep bodies working, cells have a lot of jobs to do. But, just like people specialize at doing different jobs, cells have parts that do the same thing. Some parts are builders, some are packagers, some make deliveries, and more. Understanding how life works and how we can talk, think, and move, starts with understanding the jobs done by each of these cell parts. Explore the cells and learn about how they work, then test your knowledge in the Cell Parts ID Game section.

Protein production

All of the parts in your cells are made up of molecules. A large portion of the molecules in your body that are used to do important jobs are called proteins. Proteins are also extremely important building materials... they are used to make our bodies, from our muscles to our microbe-fighting immune molecules. But how, exactly, does a cell make a protein? Trace the different parts of each cell involved in making proteins destined for the cell membrane in the Protein Pathways Game section.