Cellular structures

Hopefully this condenses all the information you need to know for cell structure. There's also an included table comparing what structures are in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells.

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  • Created by: Joanne
  • Created on: 30-09-12 11:17
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Cellular structures Features Function(s)
Rough endoplasmic Flat sacs of membrane Ribosomes carry out protein
reticulum enclosing fluid-filled space; synthesis; RER transports
outer surface is covered in proteins to Golgi apparatus
Smooth endoplasmic Like RER but with no Makes triglycerides (fats),
reticulum ribosomes on outer surface phospholipids, cholesterol
Golgi apparatus Pile of flat sacs with vesicles Modifies proteins by adding
forming around the edge carbohydrates; packages
proteins; makes lysosomes
Mitochondria Formed of two membranes Site of aerobic respiration
surrounding a fluid-filled
matrix; inner membrane is
highly folded to give large
surface area for enzymes of
Ribosomes Attached to RER or free in Assemble amino acids to
cytoplasm ­ made of protein make proteins
and RNA
Lysosomes Single membrane surrounds Contain enzymes for
fluid filled with enzymes destroying worn out parts of
cell and for digesting food
Chloroplasts Many internal membranes, Site of all the reactions of
giving large surface area for photosynthesis
chlorophyll, other pigments
and enzymes of
Plasma (cell surface) Controls entry and exit of
membrane materials; retains cell
Nuclear envelope Structure like that of ER, Separates nucleus from
with ribosomes on outer cytoplasm
surface; pores to allow
substances to pass between
cytoplasm and nucleus
Nucleus Clearly visible in LM and EM Contains genetic information
when stained as DNA in chromosomes
Nucleolus Darkly staining area in Produces ribosomes
Microfilaments Made of actin ­ a type of Provide mechanical support
protein for cells; part of the
Microtubules Made of tubulin ­ a type of Part of the cytoskeleton;
protein formed into hollow provide pathways within cells
tubes to enable vesicles and

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Cilia Extend from cell surface; Found in large groups; move
made of microtubules fluid or mucus past cells (e.g.
arranged into a `9+2' in the trachea); move eggs
arrangement in the shaft (9 along the fallopian tube
peripheral microtubules and
2 central ones); no central
microtubules in the base;
extend from cell surface;
surrounded by plasma
Undulipodia As for cilia Found singly to move
individual cells e.g.…read more



This table format is a very useful way to summarise key pieces of information such as these on organelle structure and function. Questions are often formatted so answers have to be filled into a table, so it is helpful to revise in this way. Tables can usefully be cut up for quick mix and match exercises. A helpful summary is included comparing prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

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