protoplasm pro·to·plasm (prō'tə-plāz'əm)
The complex, semifluid, translucent substance that constitutes the living matter of plant and animal cells and manifests the essential life functions of a cell. Composed of proteins, fats, and other molecules suspended in water, it includes the nucleus and cytoplasm.
|protoplasm (prō'tə-plāz'əm) Pronunciation Key
The semifluid, translucent substance that forms the living matter in all plant and animal cells. Composed of proteins, fats, and other substances suspended in water, it includes the cytoplasm and (in eukaryotes) the nucleus.
the cytoplasm and nucleus of a cell. The term was first defined in 1835 as the ground substance of living material and, hence, responsible for all living processes. Advocates of the protoplasm concept implied that cells were either fragments or containers of protoplasm. The weakness of the concept was its inability to account for the origin of formed structures within the cell, especially the nucleus. Today the term is used to mean simply the cytoplasm and nucleus. The word protoplasm is somewhat unpopular in modern biology, although the term protoplasmic streaming is commonly used to describe the movement of the cytoplasm.
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