What are cells made of

Structure of a cell and the function of its components

What is a cell made of?

As we have already told you, the cell is the smallest unit of all life, but these are also made up of some basic molecular building blocks.
The basic chemical building blocks of the cell are so-called biological ones Macromolecules, also called polymers, which are composed of the basic elements carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. These polymers arise from monomers which through Condensation reactions linked together or by Hydrolysis reactions be separated again. A distinction is made here between carbohydrates (sugar), lipids and proteins.

Different macromolecules and their functions


The sugar that can be obtained from the carbohydrates acts as an energy source. The cells need it to gain ATP so that they can implement workflows. Depending on how long the sugar is, it is called a mono-, di-, or polysaccharide (simple sugar $ \ rightarrow $ multiple sugar)


Proteins are proteins that are necessary as a building material for the cells. They are made up of individuals amino acids to Peptide chains composed. These form different structures with different functions (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary structure). In addition, they function as biocatalysts, in signal transduction, in substance transport and as signal substances. The proteins are also important in the synthesis of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid).


Fats are also necessary for the structure of the cells. Multiple unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid and linolenic acid serve as substances for the construction of cell membranes, for cell organs and for the production of certain tissue hormones. These fatty acids are essential for the functioning of cells. In addition to carbohydrates, fats also serve as Energy storage.

The macromolecules mentioned build the cell. They carry various functional groups with specific properties that are essential for their biological functions and interactions.

The origin of cells can be seen in stable droplets, aggregates (accumulations) of macromolecules, which are separated from the environment. These are also known as microspheres. They are not living beings, but they can have a certain chemical composition. When magnified under the microscope, they are cell-like and are therefore also called protobionts.

Now you have learned the basics of the structure of a cell and the functions of the components. Test your knowledge in our exercises. We wish you a lot of fun and success!