10 how can plants and animals affect neighboring cells directly Ideas

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ns between Cells and Cellular Activities – Biology

Cell Structure

OpenStaxCollege

[latexpage]

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe the extracellular matrix
  • List examples of the ways that plant cells and animal cells communicate with adjacent cells
  • Summarize the roles of tight junctions, desmosomes, gap junctions, and plasmodesmata

You already know that a group of similar cells working together is called a tissue. As you might expect, if cells are to work together, they must communicate with each other, just as you need to communicate with others if you work on a group project. Let’s take a look at how cells communicate with each other.

Extracellular Matrix of Animal Cells

Most animal cells release materials into the extracellular space. The primary components of these materials are proteins, and the most abundant protein is collagen. Collagen fibers are interwoven with carbohydrate-containing protein molecules called proteoglycans. Collectively, these materials are called the extracellular matrix ([link]). Not only does the extracellular matrix hold the cells together to form a tissue, but it also allows the cells within the tissue to communicate with each other. How can this happen?

The extracellular matrix consists of a network of proteins and carbohydrates.

Cells have protein receptors on the extracellular surfaces of their plasma membranes. When a molecule within the matrix binds to the receptor, it changes the molecular structure of the receptor. The receptor, in turn, changes the conformation of the microfilaments positioned just inside the plasma membrane. These conformational changes induce chemical signals inside the cell that reach the nucleus and turn “on” or “off” the transcription of specific sections of DNA, which affects the production of associated proteins, thus changing the activities within the cell.

Blood clotting provides an example of the role of the extracellular matrix in cell communication. When the cells lining a blood vessel are damaged, they display a protein receptor called tissue factor. When tissue factor binds with another factor in the extracellular matrix, it causes platelets to adhere to the wall of the damaged blood vessel, stimulates the adjacent smooth muscle cells in the blood vessel to contract (thus constricting the blood vessel), and initiates a series of steps that stimulate the platelets to produce clotting factors.

Intercellular Junctions

Cells can also communicate with each other via direct contact, referred to as intercellular junctions. There are some differences in the ways that plant and animal cells do this. Plasmodesmata are junctions between plant cells, whereas animal cell contacts include tight junctions, gap junctions, and desmosomes.

Plasmodesmata

In general, long stretches of the plasma membranes of neighboring plant cells cannot touch one another because they are separated by the cell wall that surrounds each cell ([link]b). How then, can a plant transfer water and other soil nutrients from its roots, through its stems, and to its leaves? Such transport uses the vascular tissues (xylem and phloem) primarily. There also exist structural modifications called plasmodesmata (singular = plasmodesma), numerous channels that pass between cell walls of adjacent plant cells, connect their cytoplasm, and enable materials to be transported from cell to cell, and thus throughout the plant ([link]).

Tight Junctions

A tight junction is a watertight seal between two adjacent animal cells ([link]). The cells are held tightly against each other by proteins (predominantly two proteins called claudins and occludins).

Tight junctions form watertight connections between adjacent animal cells. Proteins create tight junction adherence. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)

This tight adherence prevents materials from leaking between the cells; tight junctions are typically found in epithelial tissues that line internal organs and cavities, and comprise most of the skin. For example, the tight junctions of the epithelial cells lining your urinary bladder prevent urine from leaking out into the extracellular space.

Desmosomes

Also found only in animal cells are desmosomes, which act like spot welds between adjacent epithelial cells ([link]). Short proteins called cadherins in the plasma membrane connect to intermediate filaments to create desmosomes. The cadherins join two adjacent cells together and maintain the cells in a sheet-like formation in organs and tissues that stretch, like the skin, heart, and muscles.

A desmosome forms a very strong spot weld between cells. It is created by the linkage of cadherins and intermediate filaments. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)

Gap Junctions

Gap junctions in animal cells are like plasmodesmata in plant cells in that they are channels between adjacent cells that allow for the transport of ions, nutrients, and other substances that enable cells to communicate ([link]). Structurally, however, gap junctions and plasmodesmata differ.

A gap junction is a protein-lined pore that allows water and small molecules to pass between adjacent animal cells. (credit: modification of work by Mariana Ruiz Villareal)

Gap junctions develop when a set of six proteins (called connexins) in the plasma membrane arrange themselves in an elongated donut-like configuration called a connexon. When the pores (“doughnut holes”) of connexons in adjacent animal cells align, a channel between the two cells forms. Gap junctions are particularly important in cardiac muscle: The electrical signal for the muscle to contract is passed efficiently through gap junctions, allowing the heart muscle cells to contract in tandem.

Link to Learning

To conduct a virtual microscopy lab and review the parts of a cell, work through the steps of this interactive assignment.

Section Summary

Animal cells communicate via their extracellular matrices and are connected to each other via tight junctions, desmosomes, and gap junctions. Plant cells are connected and communicate with each other via plasmodesmata.

When protein receptors on the surface of the plasma membrane of an animal cell bind to a substance in the extracellular matrix, a chain of reactions begins that changes activities taking place within the cell. Plasmodesmata are channels between adjacent plant cells, while gap junctions are channels between adjacent animal cells. However, their structures are quite different. A tight junction is a watertight seal between two adjacent cells, while a desmosome acts like a spot weld.

Review Questions

Which of the following are found only in plant cells?

  1. gap junctions
  2. desmosomes
  3. plasmodesmata
  4. tight junctions

C

The key components of desmosomes are cadherins and __________.

  1. actin
  2. microfilaments
  3. intermediate filaments
  4. microtubules

C

Free Response

How does the structure of a plasmodesma differ from that of a gap junction?

They differ because plant cell walls are rigid. Plasmodesmata, which a plant cell needs for transportation and communication, are able to allow movement of really large molecules. Gap junctions are necessary in animal cells for transportation and communication.

Explain how the extracellular matrix functions.

The extracellular matrix functions in support and attachment for animal tissues. It also functions in the healing and growth of the tissue.

Glossary

desmosome
linkages between adjacent epithelial cells that form when cadherins in the plasma membrane attach to intermediate filaments
extracellular matrix
material (primarily collagen, glycoproteins, and proteoglycans) secreted from animal cells that provides mechanical protection and anchoring for the cells in the tissue
gap junction
channel between two adjacent animal cells that allows ions, nutrients, and low molecular weight substances to pass between cells, enabling the cells to communicate
plasmodesma
(plural = plasmodesmata) channel that passes between the cell walls of adjacent plant cells, connects their cytoplasm, and allows materials to be transported from cell to cell
tight junction
firm seal between two adjacent animal cells created by protein adherence

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Frequently Asked Questions About how can plants and animals affect neighboring cells directly

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic how can plants and animals affect neighboring cells directly, then this section may help you solve it.

How do neighboring cells in plants communicate with one another?

Plants are able to grow normally and form tissues and organs because of plasmodesmata, which are tiny channels that are embedded across adjacent cell walls and allow molecules to pass between cells.

What connections exist between the cells of plants and animals?

Because they are both eukaryotic cells, plant and animal cells share many structural characteristics, including membrane-bound organelles like the nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparatus, lysosomes, and peroxisomes, as well as similar membranes, cytosol, and cytoskeletal components.

How do the mechanisms of communication between plant and animal cells compare?

Answer and Explanation: Cell signaling in both plants and animals uses small molecules that travel from the cell that is producing the signal to the cell that is receiving it. These molecules then start events that change gene expression in the target cell to produce the desired response.

How do the cell boundaries of plant and animal cells differ?

Animal cells only have a cell membrane; plant cells have both a cell wall and a cell membrane, which surrounds the cell membrane in plants to give the plant cell its distinctive rectangular shape.

What are the three ways that animal and plant cells directly communicate with one another?

Gap junctions, tight junctions, and desmosomes are the three primary mechanisms used by cells to connect with one another.

How do plants and animals communicate with one another and with one another?

Darwin’s root-brain hypothesis was incorrect in this instance, but more recent research has demonstrated that plants are capable of communicating, primarily through the use of chemicals and sound, with other plants, animals, and even people.

What similarities and differences exist between the cell structures found in plants and animals?

Plant and animal cells are both eukaryotic cells, so they share several characteristics, such as the presence of a cell membrane, and cell organelles, like the nucleus, mitochondria, and endoplasmic reticulum. Animal cells are typically round and irregular in shape, whereas plant cells have fixed, rectangular shapes.

How do the cells of plants and animals interact with one another in the atmosphere’s gas exchange?

Animals and plants cooperate in the exchange of gases in the atmosphere by taking in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide during respiration, while plants take in CO2 and release oxygen during photosynthesis.

Why is it important that plant and animal cells differ?

Because plant cells have chloroplasts, which enable them to convert solar energy into nutrients through a process known as photosynthesis, plant cells can produce their own food, whereas animal cells cannot.

What cellular structures are present in both plant and animal cells?

The nucleus, cell membrane (known as the plasma membrane in animals), endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, and cytoplasm are just a few of the common organelles found in both plant and animal cells.

What directly affects how a cell works?

The thousands of genes expressed in a particular cell determine what that cell is capable of because genes encode proteins and proteins govern cell function.

Why is this important? How are plant and animal cells similar?

As eukaryotic cells, both plant and animal cells have membrane-bound organelles like the nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, ribosomes, cytoplasm, and peroxisomes, as well as similar membranes, cytosol, and cytoskeletal components.

Why is the structure of animals and plants important?

All animals have physical characteristics that help them survive in their surroundings. Some of these characteristics are very specific to certain animals, like the long, forked tongue of the water monitor lizard. Other characteristics help animals hide from predators.

Why is it crucial for plants and animals to be interdependent?

Animals breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, while plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. 2. Animals depend on plants for food and shelter.

Which process is similar between plants and animals?

Respiration, growth, nutrition, transportation, reproduction, and excretion are the common life processes shared by all plants and animals, with digestion being the exception.

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