This animation provides an overview of neutrophil anatomy. The structures presented here are, in order of appearance:
• golgi and associated vesicles The golgi (dark red) is the Fed Ex of the cell, receiving parcels of newly-synthesized products, sorting them and shipping them to their ultimate destinations.
• mitochondria These organelles (blue) produce the energy that powers the cell. This energy is chemically extracted from food sources and stored in energy carrier molecules such as ATP which are used as needed. The number of mitochondria present within a given cell is related to that cell's metabolic activity and can vary greatly between different types of cells: some cells have only one or a few mitochondria, while larger, more active types possess upwards of 30,000! What can you infer about this neutrophil's energy needs?
• granules and vesicles Granules (purple) are a hallmark of neutrophils and their cousins, the basophils and eosinophils. These granules come in at least three types (in neutrophils) and contain chemical substances that help to prevent and fight infection. The vesicles pictured (white) contain a variety of substances in transit throughout the cell (see also: golgi).
• nucleus The nucleus (gold) contains the majority of the cell's genetic material, which determines heredity and also helps coordinate the day-to-day operation of the cell. Although the nuclei of many cells are round, those of neutrophils are characteristically irregular in shape, pinched into the discrete lobes seen here.
• plasma membrane This membrane (translucent white) defines the exterior of the cell and regulates the transport of materials into and out of the cell.