Difference Between Cytosol and Cytoplasm

A cell is what makes every living being. The cell is what gives every individual’s structure and helps in proper functioning of these structures.


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Cytosol and cytoplasm are two such components of a cell. They are often misused because of their terms being similar.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cytosol is the liquid matrix found within cells, composed primarily of water, dissolved ions, and various biomolecules, providing a medium for cellular reactions and processes to occur.
  2. Cytoplasm refers to the entire contents of a cell, excluding the nucleus, and includes the cytosol, organelles, and other cellular structures suspended within it.
  3. The main difference between cytosol and cytoplasm is their composition, with cytosol being the liquid portion of the cytoplasm and the cytoplasm encompassing all the cell’s contents outside the nucleus.

Cytosol vs Cytoplasm

The difference between the cytosol and cytoplasm is that the cytoplasm is the gelatine-like translucent fluid that fills the cells while cytosol is the liquid in the cytoplasm where the components are suspended.

Cytosol vs Cytoplasm

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The cytoplasm is the transparent gelatinous fluid present between the walls of a cell. This fluid houses all the other components in the cell other than the nucleus. 

The cytosol is a component of the cell as well as cytoplasm. The liquid or aqueous part of the cytoplasm is called the cytosol. This is the where the organelles of the cytoplasm remain afloat.


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCytosolCytoplasm
DefinitionThe liquid portion of the cytoplasm where the components are suspended.The gelatinous fluid that is present between the cell walls and nucleus.
Chemical reactionsTheir chemical reactions occur in the prokaryote.They usually involve greater cellular activities like glycolysis and cell division
Fundamental componentsWater, soluble small and large moleculesOrganelles, cytosol and cytoplasmic structures
CompositionMainly water along with ions, molecules and proteins of different sizes that are soluble.80% spherical water, nucleic acids, enzymes, lipids and amino acids
FunctionsIt makes sure the suspended and dissolved organelles are in the right place during metabolismThey freeze the organelles in the right position for efficient metabolism.


What is Cytosol?

The cytosol is that part of the cytoplasm where the organelles are suspended. They are the liquid portion. Since the cytoplasm does not include the nucleus, the cytosol also would not include the nucleus.

Water constitutes most of the cytosol and that is why they are neutral. The metabolic and other chemical reactions of the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells occur in the cytosol.

The cytosol is known to be a complex mixture of salt, water and dissolved ions and molecules. They protein filaments present in the cytosol are what forms the cytoskeleton filaments.

The cytosol is also the site for cell communication to take place along with the transport of the metabolites produced to the right sites for further functioning of the cells. 


What is Cytoplasm?

The cytoplasm is the gelatinous translucent fluid present in between the cell walls and the nucleus and consists of every component present in the cell, excluding the nucleus.

It is usually everything inside the plasma membrane in a prokaryotic cell. But in a eukaryotic cell, since it is having a nucleus it is everything in between the plasma membrane and the nucleus. 

The cytoplasm contains 80% spherical water, cytosol and organelles. The organelles are the various structure present in the cell for functioning like Golgi apparatus, mitochondria etc. 

Almost all the metabolic activities and functioning happen in the cytoplasm because it consists of all the organelles of a cell. Some of the activities include cell division, glycolysis, etc. 

cytoplasm 1

Main Differences Between Cytosol and Cytoplasm

  1. The composition of the cytosol and cytoplasm also vary to a great extent. The cytosol is composed of 70% water, soluble ions, soluble small and large molecules and proteins.
  2. The cytosol reaches the molecules that are dissolved and suspended in the liquid form to the right position while the cytoplasm freezes these molecules in these positions for an efficient metabolism to take place.

  1. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/190/4220/1204.abstract
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0014482788903333
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