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MTD2: The Eukaryotic Cell

1. Describe the basic structure of a eukaryotic cell



All Living things are made up of cells

Cells are Smallest living organism
Hereditary Information stored as DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)
Genome: Total genetic information in cell
All Eukaryotic cells do the following:
1. Transcribe/Transcription* portions of genetic info. Into the same
intermediary form (RNA)

*Transcription: In the nucleus, genetic information for the

synthesis of a protein is copied from a gene in DNA to make
mRNA. This process is known as transcription.
Transcription begins when the section of DNA that contains
the gene to be copied unwinds.
Within this unwound DNA, a RNA polymerase enzyme uses
one of the strands as a template to synthesise an mRNA.
This occurs by pairing the bases with complementary bases,
however in RNA there are no T(Thymine) but U(Uracil).
The RNA polymerase moves along the DNA template strand,
forming bonds between the bases. When the RNA
polymerase reaches the termination point, transcription ends
and the new mRNA is released into cytosol.
Translation: tRNA molecules convert the information in the
mRNA into amino acids, which are placed in the proper
sequence to synthesise a protein.

DNA transcription mRNA translation
Protein This is known as the Central
Dogma of

Genome is organised into genes* which are transcribed as a single

unit to form an RNA
- This RNA will encode proteins or forms non-coding RNA (e.g
tRNA, rRNA etc.)
All cells capsuled with Cell (Plasma) Membrane which separate
intracellular from extracellular. This Membrane is semi-permeable
and regulates the entry and excretion of cell
Cytoplasm: Everything within a cell excluding the nucleus
Cytosol: Everything within a cell excluding the organelles

2. Describe the functions of eukaryotic organelles

*(For Transcription/Translation refer to previous learning outcome


i) Nucleus: The nucleus consists of a nuclear envelope, Nucleolus and

chromatins. It is enclosed in a double membrane and communicates
with the surrounding cytosol via numerous nuclear pores. Within the
nucleus is the DNA, responsible for providing the cell with its unique
characteristics. When dividing the chromatin (DNA and surrounding
protein) condenses into chromosomes.
ii) Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum: A vast network of membrane-
bound vesicles and tubules called the endoplasmic reticulum. The ER is
a continuation of the outer nuclear membrane. It is named with
smooth due to its smooth linings seen through the microscope. It
plays a different function depending on the specific cell type including
lipid and steroid hormone synthesis, breakdown of lipid soluble toxins
and control of calcium release in muscle during muscle contraction.

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum: Appears pebbled due to presence

of numerous ribosomes on its surface. Proteins synthesised on these
ribosomes collect in the endoplasmic reticulum for transport
throughout the cell
iii) Ribosomes: Packets of RNA and protein. They are the site for protein
synthesis. Each ribosome comprises two parts, a large subunit and a
small subunit. Messenger RNA from the cell nucleus is moved
systematically along the ribosome where transfer RNA adds individual
amino acid molecules.
iv) Golgi Apparatus: Membrane-bound structure with a single
membrane. It is usually a stack of membrane bound vesicles that are
important in packaging macromolecules for transport elsewhere in the
cell. (Enzymatic or hormonal contents of lysosomes, peroxisomes)
are packaged in membrane-bound vesicles.
- Peroxisome: Use molecular O2 to oxidise organic molecules
- Lysosomes: Involved in degradation of macromolecules
- Endosomes:
v)Cytosol: Contents of cytosol excluding organelles whereas
Cytoplasm is contents within a cell excluding nucleus
vi) Mitochondria: Provides the energy needed by the cell to move,
divide, and contract etc. power house of the cell-. They are membrane
bound organelles, and are double membrane. The outer membrane is
smooth while the inner is highly convoluted (cristae). The cristae
greatly increase the inner membranes surface area. It is on these
cristae that food (sugar) combines with O2 to form ATP.

vii) Lysosomes: Lysosomes contain hydrolytic enzymes necessary for

intracellular digestion. They are common in animal cells, but rare in
plant cells.
A. Describe the major functions of: Vesicles, Vacuoles,
Microfilaments and Microtubules
Vesicles: vesicles are small, membrane-bounded spheres that contain
macromolecules. Some vesicles are used to transport macromolecules
from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi body, and from the Golgi
body to various other destinations. Special vesicles also perform
various other functions as well: Lysosomes for example are vesicles
that contain enzymatic contents which are involved in cellular
Vacuoles: Vacuoles are often used to store materials used for energy
production such as starch, fat or glycogen. Plant cells often contain
large vacuoles filled with water. Vacuoles transport materials within the
cell and from around particles that enter by endocytosis.
Microfilaments: are linear assemblages of the protein called actin:
Microfilaments are also called actin filaments. The major functions
Form a band beneath just below the cell membrane that:
Provides mechanical strength to the cell
Links transmembrane proteins (e.g. cell surface receptors) to
cytoplasmic proteins.
Anchors the centrosomes at opposite poles during mitosis.
Generate cytoplasmic streaming in some cells
Generate locomotion in cells such as leukocytes (white blood cells) and
Interact with myosin (thick) filaments in skeletal muscle fibres to
provide the force of muscular contraction.
Microtubules: A hollow, slender, cylindrical filament found in the
cytoskeleton of animal and plant cells. They provide
A structural network within the cells cytoplasm
Form a substrate on which other cellular chemicals can interact
Intercellular transport
Cell motility* (Motility: refers to the ability to move spontaneously and actively,
consuming energy in the process)

3. Describe the differences between eukaryotes prokaryotes,

viruses and prions.