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Unit: Cell and Cell Processes

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Unit: Cell and Cell Processes





Big Idea:

Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain homeostasis.


Enduring Understanding:

2.A.3: Organisms must exchange matter with the environment to grow, reproduce, and maintain organization.

2.B.1: Cell membranes are selectively permeable due to their structure.

2.B.2: Growth and dynamic homeostasis are maintained by the constant movement of molecules across membranes.

2.B.3: Eukaryotic cells maintain internal membranes that partition the cell into specialized regions.

3.D.2: Cell communicate with each other through direct contact with other cells or from a distance via chemical signaling. 

3.D.3: Signal transduction pathways link signal reception with cellular response. 

3.D.4: Changes in signal transduction pathways can alter cellular response. 

4.A.1: The structure and function of subcellular components, and their interactions, provide essential cellular processes. 


Required Reading:

  • Campbell: Chapter 6, 7, 35(Supplement), 40 (Supplement), Chapter 12 


    • The Birth Of Complex Cells

    • The Evolution of the Cells-Endosymbiosis 


Learning Objectives:By the end of this unit, you should be able to.... 


Describe the relative sizes of different cells (see Figure 6.2) and determine what instrument/method would be best to study at the different level. (Ch 6.1)


Compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. (Ch 6.2)


Use surface area to volume ratio models to explain patterns of cell size and shape. (Ch 6.2)


Explain how the compartmental organization of a eukaryotic cell contributes to its biochemical functioning. (Ch 6.2)


Describe the relationship between the nucleus and ribosomes. (Ch 6.3)


Describe the key role played by transport vesicles in the endomembrane system. (Ch 6.4)


Compare and contrast the structure and function of the mitochondria and chloroplast. (Ch 6.5)


Explain the evolutionary origin of mitochondria and chloroplasts using the endosymbiont theory. (Ch 6.5)


Describe the structure and function of cytoskeleton and its components.  (Ch 6.6)


Compare and contrast cell walls with extra cellular matrix (Ch 6.7) 


Predict what would happen if cell walls or extra cellular matrix were impermeable on cell function. (Ch 6.7)


Explain why the structure of phospholipids supports its function in being a cellular membrane. (Ch 7.1)


Predict the effect of membrane fluidity if the following conditions are changed: (1) decreased temperature (2) phospholipids with saturated hydrocarbon chains (3) cholesterol level increases. (Ch 7.1)


Describe the roles of the integral and peripheral proteins. (Ch 7.1) 


Look at Figure 7.10, explain the function of membrane proteins. (Ch 7.1)


Explain the importance of transport proteins and how aquaporins affect the permeability of a membrane. (Ch 7.2)


Explain how each of the following molecules move across the membrane: carbon dioxide, oxygen, glucose, hydrogen ion, water. (Ch 7.2)


Predict what will happen to a cell in hypertonic, hypotonic, isotonic solutions and explain it in terms of osmosis and tonicity. (Ch 7.3)


Compare and contrast the effect of tonicity on animal vs. plant cells. (Ch 7.3)


Use a venn diagram to compare and contrast between diffusion and facilitated diffusion. (Ch 7.3)


Describe the fundamental differences in active vs. passive transport and the importance of both types of transport in cellular function. (Ch 7.4)


Explain and give examples of how electrogenic pumps contribute to electrochemical gradients. (Ch 7.4)


Explain why cotransport is considered active transport if ATP is not directly involved. (Ch 7.4)


Compare and contrast exocytosis and endocytosis and give examples of each. (Ch 7.5)


Compare and contrast somatic and gamete cells in terms of number of chromosome and the process of formation. (Ch 12.1)

26.  Explain the three key subphases of interphase and outline the goals for each phase. (Ch 12.2) 
27.  Outline the stages of mitosis. For each stage, describe the roles of the key organelles and enzyme for aiding the process. (Ch 12.2)
28.  Compare and contrast the difference of mitosis between animal and plant cells. (Ch 12.2)  
29.  Outline the stages of mitosis. For each stages, describe the roles of the key organelles and enzyme for aiding the process. (Ch 12.2)
30.  Explain how cell cycle is controlled and monitored. (Ch 12.3)





Below is a list of vocabularyterms used in this unit. By the end of the unit, you will be able to write a working definition of each term and correctly use each term. 


cell fractionation plasma membrane prokaryotic cells
eukaryotic cells nucleus ribosomes
endoplasmic reticulum golgi apparatus lysosome
vacuole mitochondria chloroplast
peroxisome endosymbiont theory cytoskeleton
microtubules cilia flagella
microfilament cytoplasmic streaming intermediate filaments
cell wall extracellular matrix plasmodesmata 
tight junctions desmosomes gap junctions
fluid mosaic model amphipathic phospholipid 
integral proteins peripheral proteins glycoproteins
selective permeability transport proteins aquaporins
diffusion concentration gradient osmosis
hypertonic hypotonic isotonic
osmoregulation  passive transport 
 facilitated diffusion
ion channels gate channels active transport
sodium potassium pump electrochemical gradient electrogenic pumps
proton pumps cotransport exocytosis
endocytosis phagocytosis pinocytosis
receptor-mediated endocytosis cell cycle  mitosis 
chromosomes chromatin somatic 
gamete centromere cytokinesis
centrosome aster kinetochore
metaphase plate cleavage furrow cell plate
binary fission origin of replication cyclins
Cdks MPF density-dependent inhibition 
anchorage dependence transformed benign tumor
malignant mestastasize  






Extra Worksheets/Notes from past years/review/challenge materials: 

Supplement Material/Websites:


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