Journey To The Center Of The Cell

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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The Journey to the Center of the Cell.

One day as Luke was looking through the newspaper he cam upon an article that seemed to good to be true. It read, "You could be the lucky winner who gets one million dollars. Just send your name, age, and address to Cellvania Sweepstakes 333 Continental Blvd El Segundo, CA 90254." With out looking down fro any catch in small print or thinking twice about it he rummaged through a cluttered drawer looking for a pen. Then wrote he name, Luke, age, 17, and address, San Marcos California to the address mentioned. Three weeks later to his amazement he received a letter of congratulations on winning. After seeing those words he didn't brother reading the rest of the letter and immediately called his friends to tell them the exciting news. The rumors of Luke becoming a millionaire spread through the halls quickly at school the next day.

When the word got to Matt, the buff jock at the school, he chuckled to himself and said "Is Luke even in good enough shape to win the contest." Luke over hearing him replied, " What do you mean I already have won!" Matt then said " Luke don't tell me you didn't read all of the contest rules?!" " You have to go to some island far out in the Pacific that has an obstacle course based on the structure of a cell containing characteristics of both a plant and animal cell and come in first to win the money. I heard it is very scary and hard and has waters filled with man eating piranhas." Luke then had a very scared and confused look on his face. "What are you talking about I never heard anything about that!" Luke replied. Not believing anything that Matt said but wanting to find out for himself, he hastily went home after school and read the letter they sent him. And near the end it told all about the island and obstacle coarse. Also it told Luke what he needed to pack and to be at the airport in seven days with his stuff and the contract on the next page signed. Contract, Luke thought why would we have to sign a contract. Where there really going to be piranhas in the water? On this note Luke wished that he wouldn't have enter the contest after all. The next day he began packing for the trip to Cellvania, the obstacle coarse island and read over the contract briefly and signed at the bottom. He did notice that in the contract that it had said how they were not responsible for any injuries.

The seventh day had arrived and Luke was nervously tapping his foot on the slick tile floor while waiting for his flight. As his plane arrived he slowly walked out of the air-conditioned building into the hot smoggy air outside and walked up the four stairs to the small plane. Out the plane window he watched the last bit of land leave his vision and could now see only water everywhere. Three hours later he was told they were landing on a ship and then would ride in a small boat to the island since there was no landing base on the island. The island was basically a huge cell. When he finally arrived to the island he met three other people that had also won the first part of the contest, Michael, from Alabama was 15, Stephanie, from Nebraska was 16, and Amy, from New York was 17.

They were showed were they would stay the first night and read the rules. The main rule was that you had to complete one obstacle in order to get to the next. The next day they began the race. The first obstacle was walking across a hair like organelle to get to the cell wall. The hair like organelle was called flagella and in a real cell has the capacity for movement. If a contestant were to fall they would fall 100 feet down. No on did. The second obstacle was getting through (over) the "cell wall". The cell wall on Cellvania Island was 300 feet high making it hard to get to the rest of the obstacles just like in a real cell it protects the cell from unwanted materials getting in. Everyone successfully made it over. Getting "through" the cell membrane was the third obstacle and was a little trickier. You had to run across fire hot balls that were called lipids. Then swim through a Jell-O filled container called a protein molecule. Next you had to run across the fire hot lipids again. After that you had to climb up think slick tree lick things called carbohydrates. And that completed the cell membrane obstacle. Not everyone made it past this obstacle, Amy's feet began to burn too much and she dropped out. So just like the cell membrane obstacle controlling the movement of contestants getting father into Cellvania a real cell membrane also controls the movement of materials in and out of a cell. Once through the cell membrane you had to put on diving equipment in order to continue the obstacle coarse because the rest of the island was filled with water until you reached the nucleus this was also called the cytoplasm in a real cell. In Cellvania Island the cytoplasm also contained man-eating piranhas. (To make it more exciting.) Next they came to the chloroplast café and could have one meal of anything they wanted. It was a café because in a real cell chloroplast is the site of photosynthesis, the food-making process of the plant. After the meal, probably the easiest part of the race, they came to the Golgi body where they had to connect pieces of synthesized proteins together in a right order place in a part of the Golgi body hit the purple button and see if the combination was correct and for it also to be correct they had to be in the right part of the Golgi body which would be hard since the Golgi body was stacks of flattened membranes. But the synthesized protein wasn't just lying around they had to find where it was stored first. In a real cell the Golgi body stores protein that has been synthesized. After completing that time consuming task they moved onto the lysosome where they had to run around in it in order to move it to their next obstacle. The way they moved in the sack or lysosome resembled a hamster wheel. Once to the next obstacle they had to break out or "digested" out of the lysosome. In a real cell the lysosome is a saclike organelle that contains strong digestive enzymes. The next organelle or obstacle they came to was the vacuole. Right now Luke was in the lead with Michael not far behind and further back was Stephanie. To get the main part of the vacuole u had to swim up till you made it over the membrane of the vacuole then you just had to swim for 2,000 meters while watching out for piranhas! A real vacuole is similar to the obstacle one it is a fluid-filled organelle enclosed by a membrane. After that event Stephanie was in the lead since she was an endurance swimmer with both Luke and Michael not far behind. But then Michael found one of the two Microfilaments located on Cellvania Island, which would move you much faster than the others were swimming to your next article but it was hard to stay on since it was a long, solid threadlike strand. In a real cell the Microfilaments are also long, solid, threadlike stands that are generally associated with cell movement. So Michael made it to the next obstacle the ribosome first. Where eat got to eat protein, since in a real cell ribosome is the site of protein synthesized in a cell. Then they had to climb over a wall to get the endoplasmic reticulum that if they to the right path would lead them to the next obstacle. In a cell the endoplasmic reticulum or ER is a system of membrane that forms a network through the cytoplasm of a cell. Once finding there way out of the ER they came to the chromoplasts where they had to run as fast as they could to the other side of it and the faster they ran across it the brighter the color they would change into. The brighter there color the fast they would be able to travel till they got to the leucoplast. In a cell the chromoplasts a type of plastid give the bright colors to fruits, flowers, and leaves. Then they came to the leucoplast where their color was erased and got to enjoy a meal of starch foods. In a cell the leucoplast is a colorless plastid that converts glucose to starch. Next they came to the mitochondria where they first climb over the other membrane of the organelle and into the inner membrane, which is a maze that they have to go through. Once they made it to the other side they had to climb back over the membranes into the cytoplasm. In a real cell mitochondria our oval shaped organelles surrounded by two membrane. The inner membrane is highly folded. In the mitochondria most reactions of cellular respiration occur. They are now very close to the nucleus when they come to the centrioles where while in it they have to find a microtubule which well then take them to the nucleus. In a cell the centrioles consists of a ring of nine groups of three microtubules and microtubules are sort of the skeleton on a cell in giving it its shape. And centrioles are involved in the cell division in animal cells. The microtubules are part of the movement of chromosomes during cell division. While the microtubule was taking Stephanie to the nucleus she fell off and was injured and could not continue. So now it was only Luke and Michael against each other. They were both neck and neck when they made it to the nucleus. When they reached the nucleus they had to climb up the nuclear membrane that was 600 feet high but if they came to a pore they could crawl through it. In the real cell the nucleus is a large membrane surrounded by a nuclear membrane with pores and is the control center for the cell metabolism and reproduction. Luke was in the lead when they began to reach the nucleolus but he fell on a ribosome that it had just produced and Michael mad it there first! In a cell the nucleoli are dense granular bodies that disappear at the beginning of cell division and reappear at the end. They are also the sites of ribosome production. So the southern farm boy from Alabama had won, not the surfer from Cali, or the busy business lady from New York, or even the average girl from Nebraska, but a poor farmer. So he brought his money back home to his farm and his family proudly bought more land. And Luke returned to school to hear all the rumors that would spread like mad cow disease the halls of how he lost.