The Prototypical Neuron
: Otherwise known as the cell body. The soma is about 20
in diameter and ﬁlled with the cell’s
that are suspended in
(a salty potassium rich solution).
: Contains most of the cell’s genetic material, organized as multiple long linear DNA molecules incomplex with a large variety of proteins, such as histones, to form chromosomes. The genes within thesechromosomes are the cell’s nuclear genome. The function of the nucleus is to maintain the integrity of thesegenes and to control the activities of the cell by regulating gene expression.
: functions in the expression of the genetic code from nucleic acid into protein, in a processcalled translation. Ribosomes do this by catalyzing the assembly of individual amino acids into polypeptidechains; this involves binding a messenger RNA and then using this as a template to join together the correctsequence of amino acids. This reaction uses adapters called transfer RNA molecules, which read the sequenceof the messenger RNA and are attached to the amino acids.
: a network of tubules, vesicles and sacs that are interconnected. They may servespecialized functions in the cell including protein synthesis, sequestration of calcium, production of steroids,storage and production of glycogen, and insertion of membrane proteins. Smooth ER has no ribosomes whilerough ER has ribosomes on its surface.
: a stack of membrane-enclosed disks in the soma that lies farthest from the nucleus thatdoes extensive post-translational chemical processing of proteins. It sorts certain proteins that are destinedfor delivery to diﬀerent parts of the neuron.
: sometimes described as ”cellular power plants” because they generate most of the cell’ssupply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), used as a source of chemical energy.2