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Specialised cells

Cells may be specialised for a particular function.
Their structure will allow them to carry this function out. Here are some examples:

Leaf Cell/ Palisade Cell

The function of a leaf is photosynthesis
to absorb light and carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates

Adaption Purpose

Large surface area To…

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Root Hair Cell
Absorbs water and mineral ions from the soil


Long 'fingerlike' cell
gives a large surface area.
helps absorption
thin cell wall
easier for minerals to pass across

Large permanent vacuole
affects the movement of water from
the soil across the root hair cell

Positioned close…

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a fat cell can end up 1000 times its original size as it fills up with fat

Cone cell from human eye
in the light sensitive layer of eye (the retina)
help you see in colour


Visual pigment
the outer segment contains a chemical called visual pigment

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Protective jelly coating
which the sperm must burrow through in order to fertilise the ovum.

provides a large food store needed for a developing
young organism, once its fertilised

large and bulky
no active movement is needed it just sits and waits
for a sperm to find it…

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easier to swim

Red blood cell
contains haemoglobin to carry oxygen to the cells


thin outer membrane
to let oxygen diffuse through easily

biconcave shape
increase surface area
allows more oxygen to be absorbed efficiently
increases speed of movement of oxygen in and out of the cell…

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stomata open so gases can be exchanged for photosynthesis

Plant is short of water
guard cells lose water and become flaccid
stomata close to stop too much water evaporating

Sensitive to light
close at night to save water without wasting time for photosynthesis

Cilia cell
protects the respiratory system…

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to protect the body and kill pathogens


irregular shape
they can change shape to squeeze out of blood vessels and get to the site of infection

cytoplasm that can flow
makes it possible for the cell to change shape
surround bacteria
engulf bacteria

can increase in number

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allow water and minerals to pass through them with no resistance
strong and lignified
support the plant

can increase in number
helps them fight disease better
stomata close to stop too much water evaporating

Muscle cell
They are cells found in muscles in animals, they contract and relax…


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