Animal cells and plant cells

Animal cells usually have an irregular shape, and plant cells usually have a regular shape. Cells are made up of different parts.

It is easier to describe these parts by using diagrams:

Animal and plant cells both have a cell membrane, cytoplasm, and a nucleus. Plant cells also have chloroplasts, a vacuole and a cell wallAnimal cells and plant cells also contain tiny objects called mitochondria in their cytoplasm

Animal cells and plant cells both contain:

Plant cells also contain these parts, which are not found in animal cells:

The table summarises the functions of these parts:

PartFunctionFound in
Cell membraneControls the movement of substances into and out of the cellPlant and animal cells
CytoplasmJelly-like substance, where chemical reactions happenPlant and animal cells
NucleusCarries genetic information and controls what happens inside the cellPlant and animal cells
MitochondriaWhere most respiration reactions happenPlant and animal cells
VacuoleContains a liquid called cell sap, which keeps the cell firmPlant cells only
Cell wallMade of a tough substance called cellulose, which supports the cellPlant cells only
ChloroplastsStructures which contain the green pigment chlorophyll; the site of photosynthesisPlant cells only

The key features and functions of plant and animal cells explained