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Once inside the cell, these molecules are subjected to the action of highly specialized, large, elaborately folded molecules called enzymes.
Enzymes act as catalysts by binding to ingested molecules and regulating the rate at which they are chemically altered.
Organelles include mitochondria, which are responsible for the energy transactions necessary for cell survival; lysosomes, which digest unwanted materials within the cell; and the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus, which play important roles in the internal organization of the cell by synthesizing selected molecules and then processing, sorting, and directing them to their proper locations.
In addition, plant cells contain chloroplasts, which are responsible for photosynthesis, whereby the energy of sunlight is used to convert molecules of carbon dioxide (COcytosol.
These products are used for cell growth and the replication of genetic material.
Once the genetic material has been copied and there are sufficient molecules to support cell division, the cell divides to create two daughter cells.
The smallest known cells are a group of tiny bacteria called gram—equal to that of 8,000,000,000 hydrogen atoms.
In other words, a molecule chemically transformed by one catalyst serves as the starting material, or substrate, of a second catalyst and so on.