What is Cytosol?
Cytosol is the intracellular fluid in cells that makes up most of what is called the cytoplasm in cells
The word cytosol has its origin in the Greek and is made up of the words solu – which indicates “soluble” and which refers to what is “related to the cell”, in this case the cytoplasm. In its etymological sense, the cytosol would be the soluble part of the cytoplasm. In some texts, the cytosol is also called hyaloplasm .
Swimming in the middle of the cytosol are all the elements that make up the cytoplasm, being them: the structural proteins or cytoskeleton and the organelles or organelles. The cytosol or cytoplasmic matrix, together with the mentioned elements, is also part of the cytoplasm.
Most of the metabolic reactions occur in the cytosol. For example, all the proteins synthesized in eukaryotic cells (with cell nucleus) are produced in the cytosol. The only exceptions are some proteins that are synthesized in mitochondria in animal cells and in chloroplasts in plant cells.
The composition of the cytosol will depend on the nature and function of the cell. Generally, the cytosol is made up of water, ions, macromolecules, and smaller organic molecules.
Cytosol ions can be, for example, calcium, potassium or sodium. The molecules that we can find in the cytosol can be sugars, polysaccharides, amino acids, nucleic acids and fatty acids.
Importance of cytosol
One of the most important processes in cells occurs in the cytosol: protein synthesis. In eukaryotic cells, the information to synthesize specific proteins is stored within DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), in the cell nucleus.
The messenger RNA (ribonucleic acid) will be in charge of carrying the DNA information, crossing the nuclear envelope, through the nuclear pores to the cytosol. In the cytosol are the ribosomes with which the mRNA will associate for the start of translation or protein synthesis.
Cytosol and cytoplasm
The cytosol is part of the cytoplasm. The cytoplasm encompasses everything within the plasma membrane of cells.
In prokaryotic cells (without a defined nucleus) the cytoplasm (cytosol, cytoskeleton, and organelles) constitutes the entire cell. On the other hand, in eukaryotic cells (with a cell nucleus) the cytoplasm is located between the cell membrane and the nuclear envelope.
Generally speaking, the cytoplasm differs from the cytosol in that it is everything between the plasma membrane and the nuclear envelope (if the cell has a nucleus). In this sense, we can say that the cytoplasm is the area where the cytosol is found.
Furthermore, all the other elements that make up the cytoplasm are floating in the middle of the cytosol, the latter constituting the liquid or soluble substance.
Cytosol and cytoskeleton
The cytosol and the cytoskeleton are 2 of the elements that make up the cytoplasm of cells. The cytosol is the fluid and the cytoskeleton are the structural proteins that support, move and transport cells.
The cytoskeleton, like all elements of the cytoplasm, is surrounded by cytosol.
The third basic element of the cytoplasm are the organelles or organelles, compartments with specific functions that, along with the cytoskeleton, are floating in the middle of the cytosol.