Structure of Eukaryotic Cells

The basic structure of eukaryotic cells has been covered already. In reality, however, there are many more organelles and other different elements that make up eukaryotic cells. Let’s look at the structure of eukaryotic cells in more details.

Plasma Membrane – is made up of phospholipids arranged in a bilayer. It separates the inside of the cell (intracellular space) from the outside (extracellular space).

Cytoplasm – is made up of the liquid portion of the cell (cytosol) and all of the organelles. It acts as the medium in which all of the reactions take place.

Nucleus – contains DNA and is the brains of the cell. DNA is replicated, repaired, and transcribed into RNA here.

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum – contains a network of membranes that are involved in protein synthesis. The reason it is called the rough endoplasmic reticulum is because the associated ribosomes give it texture.

Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum – contains a network of membranes that are involved in the synthesis of steroid hormones and lipids, the detoxification of metabolic by-products, and the storage and metabolism of calcium ions.

Ribosome – consists of RNA and associated proteins and they synthesize proteins. Although they are preferentially bound to the rough endoplasmic reticulum, they can be found in the cytoplasm.

Mitochondrion (plural Mitochondria) – generates most of the energy required by the cell through metabolic processes, namely respiration. It is the powerhouse of the cell.

Golgi Apparatus – is made up of vesicles and folded membranes that are involved in secretion and intracellular transport.

Intermediate Filament – are composed of a variety of different proteins that provide mechanical support for the plasma membrane in places where it comes into contact with other cells.

Microtubule – are hollow shafts that support and give shape to the cell. They are involved in cellular movement and form the routes on which organelles travel through the cell.

Actin – is a filament protein that is involved in muscle contraction, cellular movement, cell division, vesicle and organelle movement, and maintaining cell junctions and cell shape.

Peroxisome – breaks down fatty acids for use in membranes and creates hydrogen peroxide and further converts it to water.

Centrosome – acts as the main microtubule organizing center and regulates cell-cycle progression.

Vacuole – are fluid-filled membrane-bound sacs found in the cytoplasm. They are used for storage, waste removal, growth and protection.

Lysosome – contains digestive enzymes that break down food, worn out organelles, and engulfed viruses and bacteria. They are like the stomachs of the cell.

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