Eukaryotic Cells facts

Eukaryotic Cells facts

Eukaryotic Cells facts

  • A eukaryotic cell is larger and more complex than a prokaryotic cell and found in animals, plants, algae, fungi, and protozoa.
  • When we look at a eukaryotic cell with a microscope we’ll notice a highly organized structure of organelles that are bound by a membrane.
  • Each organelle performs a specialized function for the cell’s metabolism.
  • Eukaryotic cells also contain a membrane bound nucleus where the cell’s DNA is organized into chromosomes.
  • Depending on the organism, a eukaryotic cell may contain external projections called flagella and cilia.
  • These projections are used for moving substances along the cell’s surface or for moving the entire cell.
  • Flagella move the cell in a wave like motion within its environment. Cilia move substances along the cell’s surface and also aid in movement of the cell.
  • Flagella and cilia are comprised of axoneme microtubules. An axoneme microtubule is a long, hollow tube made of protein called a tubulin.


  • Eukaryotic cells of other organisms (such as animals) that lack a cell wall have an outer plasma membrane that serves as an outside cover for the cell.
  • Many eukaryotic cells have a cell wall.
  • The composition of the cell wall differs with each organism. For example, the cell walls of many fungi are composed of chitin cellulose.
  • Chitin is a polysaccharide, which is a polymer of N-acetylglucosamine (NAG) units.
  • The cell wall of other fungi is made of cellulose, which is also a polysaccharide.
  • Cellulose is also found in the cell wall of plants and many algae.
  • Yeast has a cell wall composed of glucan and mannan, which are two polysaccharides.
  • In contrast, protozoa have no cell wall and instead have a pellicle. A pellicle is a flexible, proteinaceous covering.
  • The outer plasma membrane has a sticky carbohydrate called glycocalyx on its surface.
  • Glycocalyx is made up of covalently bonded lipids and proteins in order to form glycolipid and glycoprotein in the plasma membrane.
  • A eukaryotic cell lacks peptidoglycan, which is critical in fighting bacteria with antibiotics.


  • The plasma membrane is a selectively permeable membrane enclosing the cytoplasm of a cell.
  • This is the outer layer in animal cells.
  • The plasma membrane surrounds a eukaryotic cell and serves as a barrier between the inner cell and its environment.
  • In a eukaryotic microorganism, the cytoskeleton provides support and shape for cells and helps transport substances through the cell.
  • The plasma membrane of a eukaryotic cell functions like the plasma membrane of a prokaryotic cell.
  • Eukaryotic cells extend parts or sections of plasma membrane.
  • The extensions of the plasma membrane are called pseudopods.
  • The word pseudopod means “false foot,” and these “feet” enable the cell to have amoeboid motion.

Eukaryotic Cells


  • The cytoplasm of a eukaryotic cell contains cytosol, organelles, and inclusions, which is similar to the cytoplasm of the prokaryotic cell.
  • Eukaryotic cytoplasm also contains a cytoskeleton that gives structure and shape to the cell and assists in transporting substances throughout the cell.
  • The nucleus of a eukarytoic cell contains DNA (hereditary information) and is contained within a nuclear envelope.
  • In the nucleus, the cell’s DNA is combined to form several proteins called histones.


  • The endoplasmic reticulum contributes to the mechanical support and distribution of the cytoplasm and is the pathway for transporting lipids and proteins throughout the cell.
  • The ER also provides the surface area for the chemical reaction that synthesizes lipids, it stores lipids and proteins until the cell needs them.
  • It consists of cisterns, which are a network of flattened membranous sacs.
  • The end of these cisterns can be pinched off to become membrane-enclosed sacs called secretory vesicles.
  • Vesicles transport synthesized material in the cell.

There are two kinds of endoplasmic reticula:

Rough endoplasmic reticulum: Covered by ribosomes, which are the sites for synthesizing protein.

Smooth endoplasmic reticulum: Not covered by ribosomes, this is the site for synthesizing lipids.


  • The Golgi complex is considered the “Fedex System” of the cell because it packages and delivers proteins, lipids, and enzymes throughout the cell and to the environment.
  • The Golgi complex contains cisterns stacked on top of each other.
  • A cistern is a sac or vessel and is filled with proteins or lipids (packaged), detached from the Golgi complex, and transported to another part of the cell.


  • A lysosome is a sphere in animal cells that, it contains enzymes used to digest molecules that have entered the cell.
  • Think of lysosomes as the digestive system of the cell. For example, lysosomes in a white blood cell digest bacteria that is ingested by the cell during phagocytosis.


  • The mitochondrion is an organelle that is comprised of a series of folds called cristae that is responsible for the cell’s energy production and cellular respiration.
  • Chemical reactions occur within the center of the mitrochondrion, called the matrix, it is filled with semifluid in which adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced.
  • ATP is the energy molecule in the cell.
  • The mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell.


  • Eukaryotic cells of green plants and algae contain chloroplast.
  • Chloroplasts are organelles that contain pigments of chlorophyll and carotenoids used for gathering light and enzymes necessary for photosynthesis.
  • Photosynthesis is the process that converts light energy into chemical energy.
  • The pigment is stored in membranous sacs called thylakoids that are arranged in stacks called grana.


  • A centriole is a pair of cylindrical structures near the nucleus that is comprised of microtubules and aids in the formation of flagella and cilia.
  • The centriole also has a part in eukaryotic cell division.

Eukaryotic Cells facts



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