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Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

2.2 Cell Organisation

1. Unicellular organism is made up of only a single cell but it can perform all the living
processes just like any other multicellular organisms.

Living processes in unicellular organisms

1. The survival of a unicellular organism depends largely on its cellular components

which include the organelles, as it does not have any organs or systems.

Amoeba sp.

1. Most species of Amoeba are free-living in freshwater environments, as well as in soil

2. Amoeba sp. is enclosed by the plasma membrane and is constantly changing shape as
it meets obstacles and responds to stimuli.
3. Adverse stimuli, such as acidic water or bright light, cause Amoeba sp. to retreat.
4. It moves by extending temporary pseudopodia or 'false feet' and anchoring the tips on
the ground.
5. This is followed by the flow of cytoplasm into the projected pseudopodia.
6. The cytoplasm of Amoeba sp. is divided into two layers.
7. The outer layer is called ectoplasm, while the inner layer is endoplasm.
8. The pseudopodia are also used for feeding.
9. Amoeba sp. engulfs food by phagocytosis.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

10. Amoeba sp. is a holozoic organism which feeds on microscopic organisms such as
11. The presence of food causes Amoeba sp. to advance by extending its pseudopodia.
12. The pseudopodia enclose the food which is then packaged in a food vacuole.
13. The food vacuole fuses with a lysosome and the food is digested by a hydrolytic
enzyme called lysozyme.
14. The resulting nutrients are absorbed into the cytoplasm.
15. The exchange of gases, nutrients and waste substances occur through the plasma
membrane by diffusion.
16. As Amoeba sp. lives in freshwater, water diffuses into the cell by osmosis and fill the
contractile vacuole.
17. Contractile vacuoles are involved in osmoregulation.
18. When the vacuole is filled to a maximum size, it contracts to expel its contents from
time to time.
19. When the environment is favourable, Amoeba sp. reproduces binary fission.
20. However, when the environment is not conducive to reproduction, Amoeba sp. forms

Cell specialization in multicellular organisms

1. Cells grow, change shape and differentiate to carry out specific functions.
2. Cells of a multicellular organism differentiate and undergo specialisation in
order to perform their tasks more efficiently.
3. For example, cells may become specialised in transport, defence, support or feeding.
4. Human epithelial tissues have been cultured successfully in the laboratory.
5. These tissues can be used in grafts for the regeneration of new epithelial tissues in fire
victims whose skin is damaged or severely burnt.

Cell organisation in multicellular organisms

1. Cell of the same type which carry out a common function are organized into tissues.
2. Different types of tissues group together to form an organ.
3. Several organs are found within a system.
4. All systems work together to make up an organism.

Cell → Tissue → Organ → System → Organism

Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

Cell organisation in animals

1. In animals, tissues can be classified into four main types:
a) epithelial tissue
b) muscle tissue
c) connective tissue
d) nerve tissue.

Epithelial Tissue
1. Consists of one or more layers of cells.
2. The cells of an epithelium are tightly interconnected and form a continuous layer over
body surfaces (skin and mouth area) and inner linings of cavities (digestive tract and
3. Some epithelial tissues undergo changes to form glands (exocrine and endocrine
4. Epithelial tissue on the skin forms a protective barrier against infections, mechanical
injuries and dehydration.
5. Epithelial cells in the lining of the human intestines form mucus-secreting goblet cells
which secrete mucus into the digestive tract.
6. The epithelial tissue that lines the trachea consists of elongated cells with hair-like
projections called cilia.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

Muscle tissues
1. Most abundant tissue in the body.
2. It is composed of cells called muscle fibres.
3. There are three types of muscle tissues:
a) smooth muscle (can be found in intestines, blood vessels, urinary and reproductive
b) skeletal muscle (can be found in our arms and legs)
c) cardiac muscle (can be found in the walls of the heart)
4. Contraction and relaxation of smooth muscles are responsible for involuntary body
activities such as the peristaltic movement along the digestive tract.
5. Smooth muscles contract more slowly than skeletal muscles but remain contacted for a
longer period of time.
6. Skeletal muscles are involved in voluntary movements.
7. They contract and relax to move the bones.
8. Cardiac muscles contract to pump blood to all parts of the body.
9. The contraction of cardiac muscles is involuntary.

Nerve tissues

1. Composed of neurons or nerve cells.

2. Each neurone consists of a cell body and nerve fibres called dendrites and axons.
3. Neurones are specialised to detect stimuli and transmit electrical signals called nerve
impulses to muscles or glands.
4. Nerve tissues control and coordinate activities of the body.

Connective tissue
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

1. Example:
a) Loose connective tissue
- Loose connective tissue is the most widespread connective tissue in the body.
- It binds epithelia to underlying tissues and holds organs in place.
b) Dense fibrous connective tissue
- Dense fibrous connective tissue contains a large number of collagenous fibres which are
packed closely together.
- This type of connective tissue can be found in tendons, which connect muscles to bones
and in ligaments which join bones together at joints.

- Cartilage is strong and flexible.

- It provides support to the nose, ears, covers the ends of bones at joints and the discs
between the vertebrae which act as cushions to absorb pressure.

Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

1. Consists of cells embedded in a matrix of collagen which are hardened by mineral

deposits such as calcium.
2. This combination makes the bone harder than cartilage.
3. Bone provides protection to organs and support the body.

Blood cells

1. Produced in the bone marrow located at the ends of long bones.

2. Blood has regulating, transporting and protective functions.

Adipose tissue

1. Consists of tightly packed cells that stores fat.

2. It can be found in the dermis of the skin and around major organs.
3. It acts as an energy reserve and also provides insulation and protection.


1. An organ is formed by two or more types of tissues working together to perform a

particular function.
2. Examples of organs include the heart, skin, lungs, kidneys, eyes and ears.
3. The skin covers the body.
4. It acts as a barrier against infection, physical trauma and water loss.
5. The skin is an organ because it consists of various types of tissues joined together to
perform specific functions.
6. The skin is composed of two main layers:
a) epidermis
- Outer layer of the skin, is made up of epithelial tissue.
- The epithelial cells constantly undergo cell division.
b) dermis.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

Composed of connective tissue, nerve tissue, epithelial tissue and muscle tissue.
7. Blood is supplied to the skin through a network of blood capillaries.
8. Various sensory nerve endings are scattered throughout the dermis and epidermis. 9.
These nerve endings act as receptors which transmit nerve impulses for pressure,
temperature, touch and pain to other parts of the nervous system.
9. Specialised epithelial cells in the skin form structures such as hair follicles which
produce hair, sweat glands which secrete sweat and oil glands which secrete sebum onto
the surface of the skin.


1. Consists of several organs that work together to perform a common function.

2. 11 major systems which carry out major body functions in humans.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

Cell organisation in plants


1. There are two main types of tissues in plants:

a) meristematic tissues
b) permanent tissues

Meristematic tissue
1. Consist of small cells which have thin walls, large nuclei, dense cytoplasm and no
2. Young, actively dividing cells which have not undergone differentiation and are
located at the tips of roots and the buds of shoots.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

Permanent tissue
1. Mature tissues that have undergone differentiation or are still undergoing
2. Three types:
a) epidermal tissues
b) ground tissues
c) vascular tissues.

1. Outermost layer that covers the stems, leaves and roots of young plants.
2. Flat and have large vacuoles.
3. The walls of epidermal cells which are exposed to air are covered with a waxy
waterproof coating called the cuticle.
4. The cuticle minimises water loss through evaporation, protects plants from mechanical
injury and prevents invasion of diseases caused by microorganisms.

10. The root epidermal cells have long projections called root hairs to increase the surface
area for water absorption.
11. Specialised epidermal cells containing chloroplasts are found among epidermal cells.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

12. These cells are called guard cells and they control the opening and closing of stomata.

Ground tissue
1. Consists of:
a) parenchyma tissue
b) collenchyma tissue
c) sclerenchyma tissue.

2. Form the bulk of a plant.

Parenchyma cells
1. Least specialized of the cell types found in all the organs of a plant.
2. Thin primary walls and large vacuoles.
3. Store sugar and starch.
4. Parenchyma tissue which is turgid gives support and shape to herbaceous plants.
5. Most fruits are made up of parenchyma cells.

Collenchyma cells
1. Unevenly thickened cell walls, especially at the corners.
2. Supports non-woody (herbaceous) plants, young stems and petioles.

Sclerenchyma cells
1. Cell walls which are uniformly thickened by lignin and may be dead.
2. Give support and mechanical strength to mature regions of a plant.

Vascular tissue
1. Consists of xylem and phloem which are continuous throughout the plant.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

1. Consists mainly of xylem vessels joined
together end to end, extending from the
roots right up to the leaves.
2. The absence of cytoplasm in xylem
vessels enables efficient transport of water
and dissolved mineral salts from the roots to
other parts of the plant.
3. The cell walls are thickened with lignin to
provide support and mechanical strength to
the plant.

1. Consists mainly of sieve tubes which are
arranged end to end to form long continuous
tube-like structures.
2. Organic compounds such as newly
synthesised carbohydrates and amino acids
in the leaf are transported by phloem to
other parts of the plant.

Organs and systems in plants

1. Examples:
a) leaf
b) stem
c) root
d) flower

1. Made up of ground tissues, epidermal tissues and vascular tissues.

1. Flowering part consist of two main systems:
a) root system
b) shoot system
2. Root system consists of all the roots of a plant.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

3. Shoot system consists of stems, leaves, buds, flowers and fruits.

4. Stems and branches act as a support system for the plant by holding the leaves upright
for maximum absorption of sunlight during photosynthesis.
5. The flowers are involved in pollination.

Regulating the internal environment

The internal environment of multicellular organisms

1. Although a multicellular organism lives in an external environment, the cells of the

body live within an internal environment.
2. The internal environment of a multicellular organism consists of the interstitial fluid
and the blood plasma.
3. The interstitial fluid fills the spaces between the cells and constantly bathes the cells.
4. This fluid exchanges nutrients and waste substances with the blood plasma contained
in blood capillaries.

The necessity for maintaining an optimal internal environment

1. The physical factors and chemical factors of the internal environment must be
maintained regardless of the conditions outside the cells in order for the cells to function
2. The physical factors include temperature, blood pressure and osmotic pressure.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

3. The chemical factors include salt and sugar content and pH value.
4. In mammals and birds, the physical factors and chemical composition of the internal
environment are regulated so that cells can function effectively.
5. Homeostasis is the maintenance of a relatively constant internal environment for the
cells to function optimally.
6. For example, the metabolism of the body is affected by the changes in the chemical
factors such as glucose and oxygen levels and physical factors such as temperature and
osmotic pressure.
7. These changes are regulated by the homeostatic mechanisms which maintain the
internal environment so that the metabolic processes can proceed at optimum rates.
8. Any increase or decrease in the value of a physical or chemical factor will trigger the
homeostatic mechanism to bring it back to normal.
9. The mechanism that governs homeostasis is called negative feedback mechanism.

The involvement of various systems in maintaining an optimal internal environment

1. Systems in the body function and interact with one another to maintain a stable internal

Body temperature
1. Regulated by:
a) Integumentary system (skin and sweat glands)
b) Nervous system
c) Circulatory system
d) Muscular system
e) Endocrine system.
2. When the body temperature rises above the normal level, the receptors in the skin
detect the changes.
3. This information is transmitted to the hypothalamus, the temperature regulatory centre
in the brain.
4. The hypothalamus activates various effectors such as the blood vessels and the sweat
5. The blood vessels dilate and allow more blood to flow near the surface the body.
6. This will increase heat loss to the external environment.
7. The sweat glands are activated by the nervous system to produce more sweat that will
lower the body temperature through evaporation.
8. The overall result is the lowering of the body temperature to its original level.
9. When body temperature is restored to normal, the regulatory centre will no longer be
in a stimulated state.

Concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide

1. Regulated by:
a) Respiratory system
b) Circulatory system
c) Nervous systems
2. The circulatory system transports oxygen from the lungs to the body cells.
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

3. Carbon dioxide is removed from the body cells into the bloodstream and transported
back to the lungs.
4. Changes in the concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide are detected by the
nervous system.
5. For example, the decrease in the concentration of oxygen and the increase in the
concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood during vigorous physical activities are
detected by the nervous system.
6. As a result, the breathing and pulse rates increase so that the normal concentrations of
carbon dioxide and oxygen ire attained.

Blood glucose level

1. Regulated by:
a) Endocrine system
b) Circulatory system
c) Digestive system
2. The pancreas secretes insulin when the blood glucose level is high and it secretes
glucagon when the blood glucose level is low.

Blood osmotic pressure (balance of water and dissolved substances in body fluids)
1. Regulated by:
a) Nervous system
b) Endocrine system
c) Excretory system

Chemical contents in the body (waste products of metabolism)

1. Regulated by:
a) Excretory system
b) Circulatory system
c) Nervous system
d) Endocrine system.
2. Toxic substances such as urea are transported by the circulatory system to the kidneys
to be excreted.

pH level
Biology Form 4: Chapter 2

1. Regulated by:
a) Respiratory system
b) Circulatory system
c) Excretory system
2. The pH of the blood and interstitial fluid is maintained by controlling the
concentrations of hydrogen ions (H+ ), hydroxyl ions (OH- ) and hydrogen carbonate ions

2.3 Appreciating the Uniqueness of the Cell

1. A cell is the basic unit of all living organisms that is capable of functioning on its own.
2. The presence of organelles divides the cell into small compartments in which specific
functions can take place.