Definition of Cytoplasm

In cell biology, the cytoplasm is the material or protoplasm within a living cell, excluding the cell nucleus. It comprises cytosol (the gel-like substance enclosed within the cell membrane) and the organelles the cell's internal sub-structures. All of the contents of the cells of prokaryote organisms (such as bacteria, which lack a cell nucleus) are contained within the cytoplasm. Within the cells of eukaryote organisms the contents of the cell nucleus are separated from the cytoplasm, and are then called the nucleoplasm. The cytoplasm is about 80% water and usually colorless.

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It is within the cytoplasm that most cellular activities occur, such as many metabolic pathways including glycolysis, and processes such as cell division. The concentrated inner area is called the endoplasm and the outer layer is called the cell cortex or the ectoplasm. Movement of calcium ions in and out of the cytoplasm is a signaling activity for metabolic processes. In plants, movement of the cytoplasm around vacuoles is known as cytoplasmic streaming.