Major Concepts to Review for AP Biology

Cell Structure


Cell Theory - A cell is the fundamental unit of life which can:

List of Life Functions necessary for all cells

1. take in raw materials

2. extract useful energy

3. synthesize its own molecules

4. grow in an organized manner

5. respond to stimuli

6. reproduce itself


Know why cells must be small.

Surface - Volume hypothesis

Surface increases at a slower rate than volume since x2 will be less than x3

Ultimately all processes in cells rely on simple diffusion which is a rather slow process at body temps


Solutions to loss of surface area relative to volume increases are:
Membrane folding for increased surface area and

cytoplasmic streaming assist simple diffusion


Know the following:

Differences between Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Differences between plant and animal cells

Plants have a large central vacuole (turgor pressure and tonoplast), chloroplasts, and a cell wall

Animals have lysosomes, centrioles, cilia or flagella


Know structure and function of major Eukaryotic cell organelles such as:

Membranous organelles
double membrane (may by ancient symbiotic associations) special membranes for energy extraction



Single membrane (endomembranal system)
Endoplasmic reticulum (outer envelope of nucleus)

Golgi apparatus

Lysosomes and other vesicles

Plasma membrane


Molecular organelles
Nucleolus (ribosome assembly area in nucleus)

Ribosomes (RNA and proteins)



Organelle combinations
Centriole (combination of microtubules and membrane

Cilia, Flagella 9=2 also found in rods and cones in eye and sensory hairs in the middle ear


Cell Wall - primarily cellulose

Nucleus - contains the entire genome for the organism

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