Somatic cells also termed as vegetal cells is a cell which helps to frame the body of an organism specially multicellular organism, exception like germ cell, gamete cell, gametocyte or undifferentiated stem cell. Somatic cells are derived from the Greek word “Soma” which means body. The somatic cells are referred as the tiny building blocks of life, when we take a look towards our body; it is obvious that we are made up of many functional parts. To be more specific we have internal and external organs, we have kidney, brain, heart and skin and many more organs. If we go deeper, we can recognize that our each and every part of the body is made up of microscopic tiny building blocks called cells. Somatic cell is one of the categories of cells. Theoretically, to differentiate, gametes are the cells that fuse in order to complete sexual reproduction, germ cells are those cells which give rise to gametes and stem cells are those cells that divide through mitosis and are differentiated into diverse specialized cell types. This theory can be explained by giving an example; in mammals the somatic cells are responsible for building up the entire all the internal organs, bones, blood, skin and connective tissues, whereas the mammalian germ cells produces spermatozoa and ova which are fused during the process of fertilization to produce a cell, which is known as zygote. This zygote divides and differentiates into the cells of an embryo. There are around 220 different types of somatic cells in the human body.
The somatic cells are differentiated into various types of cells which are specially specialized for specific area of the body. The different body parts have different types of cells even their shape and size vary vastly. These properties vary depending upon on their function of the organs of the body. The examples of somatic cells are bone cells, muscles cells, nerve cells and blood cells.
The old bone cells are rapidly being replaced with new bone cells. The two broad categories of the bone cells are known as osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Osteoblasts form the bone of the body and to help maintain it. They are structures in cuboidal, or square-shaped, and they generally make the proteins which form the bones. They also constantly communicate with each other try to and produce certain special molecules such as the growth factors, which enables bone growth. Osteoclasts, on the other side, resorb, or dissolve, the old bone. They are the large cells that possess multiple nuclei. When the whole network of work of an osteoblast or osteoclast is completed, it undergoes a programmed cell death process which is known as apoptosis.
The muscle cells are also known as myocytes. They are long and tube-shaped cells. There are three types of muscle which are made up of with specialized myocytes: these are smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and skeletal muscle. The smooth muscle usually lines up the walls of the internal organs such as the uterus, bladder, and the digestive tract. The cardiac muscle is only found in the heart, and hence it allows the heart to pump blood though out the body. The skeletal muscle is totally attached to the bone of the body and helps in the movement of the body.
There are various parts of myocytes (muscle cells) have special terminology as the myocytes are so different from the other types of cells. The cell membrane of myocytes are known as the sarcolemma, the mitochondria of the myocytes are called sarcosomes, and the cytoplasm of the cells is called the sarcoplasm. The sarcomere is that part of the cell that is responsible for the contraction of the cell and allows the muscle movement, and they form long chains which are called as myofibrils that run throughout each muscle fiber of the body. The muscle cells cannot divide to form newer cells. Therefore it is evident that that even though muscles of our body can only get bigger through body exercise, babies actually have more myocytes as compared to adults.
The nerve cells of organisms are called as neurons. Neurons are found throughout the body, interconnected with each other but there is special high density connectivity in the brain and spinal cord, which is responsible for the movements in the body that is it controls the movements of the body. Neurons send and receive information to and from the other neurons and organs via chemical and electrical signaling. Neurons tend to maintain a certain voltage, and when this voltage changes, it creates an electrochemical signal which is known as an action potential. When an action potential occurs in a neuron, the neuron tends to release neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that affect the target cells. Some examples of neurotransmitters are serotonin, histamines, dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline).
What is the relationship between mutation in the somatic cells and the cell cycle? What are the different types of mutation?
The relationship between mutation in the somatic cells and the cell cycle is that the somatic mutation is the genetic alteration which is acquired by the cells that can be passed to the progeny of the mutated cell usually in the course of cell division. The somatic cells are different from the germ line mutation, which are inherited due to genetic alteration that occurs in the germ cell for example sperm and egg of male and female respectively.
The different types of mutation are:
Missense mutation: In this type of mutation there is a change in one DNA base pair that can results in the substitution of one amino acid for another in the protein which is made by a particular gene.
Nonsense mutation: In this type of mutation there is also a change in one DNA base pair, instead of substituting one amino acid for another, but, the altered DNA sequence prematurely signals the cell to hinder the building of a protein. This type of mutation may result in a shortened protein that may show improper function may be or not at all.
Insertion or Deletion: An insertion is responsible for changing the number of DNA bases in a gene by adding a piece of DNA. A deletion is responsible for removing a piece of DNA. Insertions or deletions may be comparably very small (one or a few base pairs within a gene) or large (an entire gene, several genes, or a large section of a chromosome). In any of these cases, the protein made by the gene may show improper functioning.
Duplication: A duplication mutation occurs when there consists of a piece of DNA that is abnormally copied once or more than once. This type of mutation may affect the function of the resulting protein.
Frameshift mutation: In this type of mutation, it occurs when there is addition or loss of DNA bases changes a gene’s reading frame or sequence. A reading frame comprises of groups of 3 bases that each code for one amino acid. A frameshift mutation usually shifts the grouping of these bases in the DNA and thus changing the code for the amino acids. The resulting protein is usually nonfunctional. Insertions, deletions, and duplications are incorporated within the frameshift mutations.
Repeat expansion: In repeat expansion usually sequence or DNA pairs. The repetition of number of nucleotide repeats are short and the DNA sequences that are repeated a number of times in a row. For example, a trinucleotide repeat is of 3-base- pair sequences, and a tetranucleotide repeat is of 4-base-pair sequences. A repeat expansion is a type of mutation that increases the number of times that the short DNA sequence is repeated. This type of mutation can cause the resulting protein to function.
How do mutations in somatic cells differ from mutations in gametes?
The somatic mutations are the mutations which occur in the cells of the organisms and do not include those cells that are responsible for reproduction. The somatic mutation are also called as the acquired mutation which can occur in any cell of the body as long as it takes place after conception and is not destined to become a germ cell. This is only because the mutations are impossible to occur in the germ cells which are also known as the egg or sperm. Thus the somatic mutations are not inheritable. Some of the examples of somatic mutation are:
When someone is exposed to sun and gradually develops sun burn to cancer or may be exposed to ultraviolet rays.
Smoking cigarette and developing lung cancer.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer in which the cancer develops from a very thin layer of tissue that generally covers many of the internal organs which is known as mesothelium.
An example can be given for somatic mutation would be brown spots in the iris of the eye in organisms. The somatic mutation occurs in a single body and cannot be inherited; only those tissues that are derived from the mutated cells are affected.
Gametic mutations generally, occur in germline cells. This means that they the germline is passed down from generation to generation that is it inherit to the next generation. The most common gametic fusion is called as hemophilia and albinism.
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