Wayne, Randy O. Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Cocking, E. C. Botany Department, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
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A plant cell in which the cell wall has been removed. Although the plant cell is the basic unit of structure and function in plants, the term protoplast has been used to describe the organized entity of the living components of the plant cell that lie inside of the cell wall. The plant protoplast (see illustration) includes the differentially permeable plasma membrane (plasmolysis studies on plant cells have established that a functional plasma membrane surrounds the protoplast) as well as the cytoplasm and the organelles that are within it. The definition of the plant protoplast differs from the definition of the plant cell in that the protoplast does not include the highly permeable extracellular matrix. See also: Cell membranes; Cytoplasm; Plant anatomy; Plant cell
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