Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: "Cyto-" and "-Cyte"

This image shows two animal cells during cytokinesis (cell division). Cytokinesis occurs after nuclear division (mitosis), which produces two daughter nuclei. The two daughter cells are still connected by a midbody, a transient structure formed from microtubules.

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The prefix (cyto-) means of or relating to a cell. It comes from the Greek kytos, meaning hollow receptacle.

Biology Prefixes With "Cyto-"

Cytochemistry (cyto - chemistry) - a branch of biochemistry whose focus is studying both the chemical composition and chemical activity of a cell.

Cytochrome (cyto - chrome) - a class of proteins found in cells that contain iron and are important for cellular respiration.

Cytogeneticist (cyto - geneticist) - a scientist who studies cytogenetics. In a clinical setting, a cytogeneticist is often tasked with finding abnormalities in chromosomes.

Cytogenetics (cyto - genetics) - a branch of genetics that studies the components of cells that impact heredity.

Cytokinesis (cyto - kinesis) - the division of a cell into two distinct cells. This division occurs at the end of mitosis and meiosis.

Cytomegalovirus (cyto - mega - lo -virus) - a group of viruses that infect epithelial cells. This group of viruses can cause infant disease.

Cytophotometry (cyto - photo - metry) - refers to using a device known as a cytophotometer to study both cells and compounds within the cells.

Cytoplasm (cyto - plasm) - all of the contents inside of a cell excluding the nucleus. This includes the cytosol and all other cell organelles.

Cytoplasmically (cyto - plasmically) - of or referring to a cell's cytoplasm.

Cytoplast (cyto - plast) - refers to an intact cytoplasm from a single cell.

Cytoskeleton (cyto - skeleton) - network of microtubules inside the cell that help give it shape and make cell movement possible.

Cytosol (cyto - sol) - semifluid component of a cell's cytoplasm.

Cytotoxic (cyto - toxic) - a substance, agent, or process that kills cells. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes are immune cells that kill cancer cells and virus-infected cells.

Biology Suffixes With "-Cyte"

The suffix (-cyte) also means of or relating to a cell.

Adipocyte (adipo - cyte) - cells that compose adipose tissue. Adipocytes are also called fat cells because they store fat or triglycerides.

Bacteriocyte (bacterio - cyte) - an adipocyte that contains symbiotic bacteria, often found in some types of insects.

Erythrocyte (erythro - cyte) - red blood cell. Erythrocytes contain hemoglobin, the pigment that gives blood its distinctive red color.

Gametocyte (gameto - cyte) - a cell from which male and female gametes develop by meiosis. Male gametocytes are also known as spermatocytes while female gametocytes are also known as oocytes.

Granulocyte (granulo - cyte) - a type of white blood cell that contains cytoplasmic granules. Granulocytes include neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.

Leukocyte (leuko - cyte) - white blood cell. Leukocytes are usually made in an organism's bone marrow. They are found primarily in blood and lymph. Leukocytes are an integral part of the body's immune system.

Lymphocyte (lympho - cyte) - type of immune cell that includes B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells.

Megakaryocyte (mega - karyo - cyte) - large cell in bone marrow that produces platelets.

Mycetocyte (myceto - cyte) - another name for a bacteriocyte.

Necrocyte (necro - cyte) - refers to a dead cell. It can be part of a dead cell layer that serves a protective function.

Oocyte (oo - cyte) - a female gametocyte that develops into an egg cell by meiosis.

Spermatocyte - (sperm - ato - cyte) - a male gametocyte that ultimately develops into a sperm cell by meiosis.

Thrombocyte (thrombo - cyte) - a type of blood cell known as a platelet. Platelets clump together when a blood vessel is injured to form a blood clot helping to protect the organism from excessive blood loss.

cyto- and -cyte Word Dissection

Just as a biology student might dissect a frog, learning important biologically related prefixes and suffixes can help biology students 'dissect' unfamiliar words and terms. Now that you've reviewed biology prefixes that begin with "cyto-" along with biology suffixes that end with "-cyte", you should be well prepared to 'dissect' additional similar words like cytotaxonomy, cytochemical, cytotoxicity and mesenchymocyte.

More Biology Terms

For more information on understanding biology terms, see:

Understanding Difficult Biology Words

Biology Word Dissections

Glossary of Cell Biology Terms

Biology Prefixes and Suffixes


  • Reece, Jane B., and Neil A. Campbell. Campbell Biology. Benjamin Cummings, 2011.
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Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: "Cyto-" and "-Cyte"." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Bailey, Regina. (2023, April 5). Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: "Cyto-" and "-Cyte". Retrieved from Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: "Cyto-" and "-Cyte"." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).