Summary of functions of major eukaryotic cell organells

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Nucleus + Nucleolus

Organelle: Nucleus

Occurrence: Usually one per cell

Size: 10μm

Function: site of the nuclear material- the DNA


Organelle: Nucleolus

Occurrence: inside nucleus


Function: manufacture of ribosomes


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Mitochondrion + rER

Organelle: Mitochondrion

Occurrence: numerous in cytoplasm; up to 1000 per cell

Size: 1-10μm

Function: aerobic respiration


Organelle: Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum

Occurrence: continous throughout cytoplasm

Size: extensive membrane network

Function: isolation and transport of newly synthesised proteins


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sER + Ribosomes

Organelle: Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum

Occurrence: usually small patches in cytoplasm

Size: variable

Function: synthesised proteins


Organelle: Ribosomes

Occurrence: free in cytoplasm or attached to rER

Size: 20μm

Function: synthesis of some lioidsand steroids


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Golgi + Lysomes

Organelle: Golgi Apparatus

Occurrence: free in cytoplasm

Size: 20nm

Function: modification and synthesis of chemicals


Organelle: Lysomes

Occurrence: free in cytoplasm

Size: 100nm

Function: digestion of unwanted material


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Chloroplast + Vacuole

Organelle: Chloroplast

Occurrence: cytoplasm of some cells,e.g. mesophyll

Size: 4-10μm

Function: site of photosynthesis


Organelle: Vacuole

Occurrence: usually large, single fluid-filled space in plant; smaller and more numerous in animals

Size: up to 90% of volume of whole plant cell

Function: storage of salts, sugars and pigments; created turgor pressure by interaction with cell wall


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Plasma membrane + Cell wall

Organelle: Plasma Membrane

Occurrence: encloses the cytoplasm of all cells

Size: 7-10μm

Function: exchange and transport of materials into and out of the cell


Organelle: Cell Wall

Occurrence: surrounds all plant and fungal cells (but of different structures)

Size: thickness varies

Function: provides rigidity and strength


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