Specialised cells

Many cells are specialised. They have structures that are adapted for their function. For example, muscle cells bring parts of the body closer together. They contain protein fibres that can contract when energy is available, making the cells shorter.

These tables show examples of some specialised animal and plant cells, with their functions and adaptations.

Animal cells

Ciliated cell: push and move mucus, thin layer of tiny moving hairs called cilia.  Red blood cells: transport oxygen from lungs to body tissues for aerobic respiration, contains haemoglobin, flexible.

Plant cells

Root hair cell: absorbs water and minerals, long thin root hair for absorption.  Xylem vessel: transports water, xylem cells have no cytoplasm and no end walls, continuous tube for water flow.