Cytosol And Cytoplasm: 7 Facts You Should Know

There are various organelles present within a cell with differentiating functions. Let us check what cytosol and cytoplasm are, along with their functions in the cell.

Cytosol and cytoplasm, both are contained within the protoplasm. Cytoplasm is the component within the cells that is present throughout the cells and includes all the cell organelles except nucleus whereas cytosol is a part of the cytoplasm and works as its matrix.

Let us take a detailed look regarding the questions if cytoplasm can be called cytosol, if there are any circumstances if cytoplasm can be called cytosol and many other related facts in this article.

Can cytoplasm be called as cytosol?

Cytoplasm and cytosol are highly synonymous terms, which are found in the cells. Let us check if cytoplasm can be called to be cytosol. 

Cytoplasm cannot be called cytosol as both are different components. Cytoplasm is a gel-like liquid that consists of all the components that are present within the cells. Cytosol is the aqueous part of the cytoplasm which helps the other components to float.  

When is cytoplasm called cytosol?

Under certain circumstances, few organelles tend to function like other organelles. Let us check if cytoplasm under any circumstances can be called cytosol.

Cytoplasm is not called cytosol under any circumstances even though the terms sound interchangeable in nature. Cytosol is only the matrix or the aqueous part of the entire cytoplasm and hence, calling cytoplasm as cytosol would be incorrect. 

Relationship between cytosol and cytoplasm

In the intercellular space, all the organelles are related to each other, either by function or structure. Let us see the relationship between cytosol and cytoplasm. 

Cytosol is related to cytoplasm as it is the matrix part of the cytoplasm and supports each organelle to remain floated in the cytoplasm. Hence, cytosol is just the fluid that is contained in the cytoplasm whereas cytoplasm is the entire content present within the cell membrane.

Difference between cytoplasm and cytosol

There are several differences between two different components within a cell. Let us check the differences between cytoplasm and cytosol. 

Cytosol being a part of the cytoplasm has a set of differences from each other, which are listed in the table below. 

Factors Cytosol Cytoplasm 
Definition It is the fluid or aqueous part of cytoplasm.It contains the entire part within the cell membrane. 
CompositionIt is composed of 70% water, various types of ions, a variety of molecules, amino acids and proteins. It is composed of 80% water, inorganic ions, amino acids, nucleic acids, proteins, enzymes, lipids and more. 
DiversityThe diversity in terms of components is low. The diversity in terms of components is high.
ComponentsMain component is water along with micro and macro molecules. Main components are cytosol, organelles, and cytoplasmic contents. 
MetabolismIn prokaryotes, all cellular reactions occur in cytosol. Cellular activities like glycolysis as well as cell division occur. 
Functions It engages in concentrating all the molecules that are being dissolved in their correct positions to drive efficiency in metabolism. It engages in freezing all the cell organelles at their position to drive efficiency in metabolism. 
Other functions Functions like transportation of various molecules along with signal transduction is supported in cytosol. Functions like signal transduction along with nuclear division, cytokinesis is supported by cytoplasm. 
Cytosol VS Cytoplasm

Structure of cytosol in cytoplasm

All the cellular components have a definite structure. Let us check the structure of cytosol within cytoplasm. 

The structure of cytosol can be understood by identifying the composition and the organisation, which are listed below: 


  • Cytosol is composed of various types of ions, a variety of molecules, both micro and macromolecules, but the fluid is not homogeneous in nature. 
  • 70% of the overall portion of cytosol is water with a pH varying between 7 to 7.4. The pH turns slightly basic when the cell is at the growing stage as various ions of potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium and bicarbonates get dissolved into it. 
  • Cytosol also includes various amino acids and proteins that aim to support processes like osmolarity. 

Structural Organisation

  • Cytosol is identified to contain an organised framework of various types of fibrous molecules which are identified as cytoskeleton. Even though cytoskeleton is not considered to be the direct part of cytosol, it engages in controlling functions of cytosol like diffusion and restricts the movement of various large particles.  
cytosol and cytoplasm
Cytosol in Cytoplasm from Wikimedia

Function of cytosol in cytoplasm 

Each organelle has differentiating functions within the cell. Let us check the functions of cytosol within cytoplasm. 

There are various functions processed by cytosol, which are as follows: 

Signal transduction

  • It helps in facilitating signals across cell organelles like the nucleus or other sites from the cell membrane. 


  • Various processes associated in the activity of cytokinesis are being supported by cytosol, mostly after the breakdown of the nuclear membrane in the cell division through mitosis. 

Metabolite transport 

  • One of the most important functions of cytosol is to transport various metabolites from the site of the production to the site of the utilisation. 
  • The process of transport is identified to be simple for all the water-soluble molecules which includes various amino acids. However, the transportation of various hydrophobic molecules like the fatty acids needs the support of specific binding proteins. These binding proteins take up the role of the shuttles in terms of transportation across the cell membrane. 

Site of metabolism 

  • Cytosol has been identified as the metabolism site for the prokaryotic cells as all their activities occur in cytosol. Even for the eukaryotes, a large portion of metabolic activities occur within the eukaryotes. 
  • In animals, metabolic pathways that occur within cytosol are gluconeogenesis, protein biosynthesis, glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway. 


It can be concluded that cytoplasm cannot be called cytosol under any circumstances as cytosol is a part of cytoplasm whereas cytoplasm is contained within the entire cells.

Also Read: