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The cell is the fundamental unit of structure and function of cell life. It is a
unit of biological activity delimited by a differentially permeable membrane and is
capable of self reproduction.

� Cell is the structural and functional unit of living organism.

� Widely accepted definition of cell was given by Lowey and Sikewitz.

� Cell is the unit of biological activity container and nucleus and able to divide
in a medium free from other living organism.

� Cytology is the study of the state of different components of a cell.

� Cell biology is the study of structure, function, and reproduction of cell.

� The cell was first observed by Marcello Malpighi and he called it saccade.

Historical Details

The father of cytology is Robert Hooke and the father of cell biology is Swanson.

The term ''cell'' was first coined by Robert Hooke in his book Micrographia

Robert Hooke observed cell wall in the dead cork cell. The first living cell was
observed by Leeuwenhoek.

Alfonso Corti first observed the living substance of a cell.

This living substance was called protoplasm by Purkinje in animal cell and by Von
Mohl in plant cell.

Hammerling was the first to tell nucleus as the brain or master or controlling
centre of cell by using grafting experiment with Acetabularia (unicellular marine
green algae) which is the largest unicellular organism among the plants.

The largest cell in animals is the egg of ostrich.

The largest cellular component is nucleus.

Longest cell{PlantAnimal??Sclerenchymatous fiberNeuron

Largest cell organelle{PlantAnimal??PlastidMitochondria

The smallest cell organelle is ribosomes.

The term cytoplasm was coined by Strassburger.

The term hyaloplasm was coined by Preffet.

You have earlier observed cells in an onion peel and/or human cheek cells under the
microscope. Let us recollect their structure. The onion cell which is a typical
plant cell has a distinct cell wall as its outer boundary and just within it is the
cell membrane. The cells of the human cheek have an outer membrane as the
delimiting structure of the cell. Inside each cell is a dense membrane-bound
structure called nucleus. This nucleus contains chromosomes which in turn contain
the genetic material, DNA.
Cells that have membrane-bound nuclei are called eukaryotic whereas cells that lack
a membrane-bound nucleus are called prokaryotic. In both prokaryotic and eukaryotic
cells, a semi-fluid matrix called cytoplasm occupies the volume of the cell. The
cytoplasm is the main arena of cellular activities in both the plant and animal
cells. Various chemical reactions occur in it to keep the cell in the ''living

Cell Shape and Size

Types of Cells
Based on Differentiation

Undifferentiated cell: Cells having dividing abilities, i.e., meristem in plants

and stem cells in animals.

Differentiated cell: Post-mitotic cell formed by division of undifferentiated

cells. For example, parenchyma, collenchyma, tracheids, vessels, etc.

Re-differentiated cell: A cell formed by the division of a dedifferentiated cell,

e.g., formation of secondary cortex and cork, is called a re-differentiated cell.

Based on Structure

Prokaryotic cell (Daugherty): Nucleus nor well organized and membrane-bound cell
organelles absent. For example, monerans.

Eukaryotic cell (Daugherty): Nucleus well organized and membrane-bound cell

organelles present.

Mesokaryotic cell (Dodge): Nucleus well organized, but DNA lacks histone protein.

Cell is defined as structural and functional unit of life. Robert Hooke (1665) is
credited with the discovery of cell Hooke observed a honey comb like pattern in
very thin slice of cork plant (Quercus suber) in his compound microscope. This
honey comb like structure consisted a thick wall enclosing box-like compartments
for which he coined the term cellulae for the first time. He published; work in
Micrographia. Cytology is the branch of biology which comprises the study of cell
structure . Study of metabolic aspects of cell components is called cell biology.


C.P. Swanson is called 'Father of modern cytology'.

Anton Van Leeuwenhoek (1683) was first to observe free cells like bacteria,
protozoa, red blood cells and sperm etc.

Alfonso Corti (1772) observed living substances in the cells.

Nucleus was first observed by Robert Brown (1831) within the cells of orchid roots.

Dujardin discovered protoplasm in protozoans. He called this material as sarcode.

Johannes Purkinje (1839) called the jelly like substance Protoplasm.

Hugo Von Mohl (1846) also suggested the same name-protoplasm, for the similar
substance- found in plants.
Protoplasm is physical basis of life' was stated by Huxley.

Max Schultze proposed the protoplasm theory which states that cell is an
accumulation of living substance (or protoplasm) which is limited by an outer
membrane and possesses a nucleus.

Cell theory was proposed by Schleiden and Schwann in 1838-39.

A typical cell consists of three major elements: Outer envelope: A cell is

surrounded by an outer membrane called as a plasma membrane/plasmalemma. A distinct
cell wall lies on its outside in plant cells.

Genetic material: It represents hereditary material that not only controls the
functioning of the cell & also contains the information for forming the whole
organism. Genetic material can be either DNA/RNA.

Cytoplasm: it is semifluid matrix that occupies the interior of cell between the
nuclear region & outer envelope. Cytoplasm is the area of major cellular activities
which keep the cell in living state. Certain functions are related with special
cytoplasmic structures called organelles. Organelles are of three types: a)
membraneless e.g. Ribosomes, centrioles etc. b) Single membranous e.g., endoplasmic
reticulum, lysosomes, etc. c) Double membranous e.g., mitochondria, plastids, etc.

The smallest cell - Pleuropneumonia like organisms (PPLO), as Mycoplasma

gallisseptecurn. Its size is 0.1�.

Largest cell - Ostrich egg, measuring� 170 � 135 mm. It is visible to the naked

In the human body there are about 100 trillion or 1014 cells.

The cell contains cellular organelles that control the activity of the cell.


The shape of the cell may be variable, (i.e., constantly changing), e.g., WBCs,
Amoeba, etc., or fixed. The fixed cell may be

Flattened, i.e., scale like cells, e.g., squamous epithelium, endothelium and upper
layers of epidermis, etc.

Cubical, i.e., cube shaped cells, e.g., most of the secretory cells.

Columnar, i.e., rectangular cells with more length and less width, e.g., cells
lining those parts mainly where absorption or ciliary movement is required.

Spherical, i.e., with spherical appearance, e.g., most of the plant cells of this
type and eggs of many animals.

Spindle shaped, i.e., with spindle appearance, e.g., smooth muscle cell fibres.

Subglobose or polyhedral, i.e., a sub type of spherical cells, mainly seen in

plants, with equal diameters or slightly different diameters.

Elongated, i.e., cells which are very long (e.g., never cells). Elongated cells are
also found in plants.

Branched cells, i.e., the cells with branched margins, e.g., pigment cells of skin,

As far as size of the cells is concerned, it varies from very small cells of
bacteria (0.2 � 0.5�) to the very large cells of ostrich (6 inches). Thus, the egg
of Ostrich is considered as the largest living cell. In this egg, a considerable
part of volume is made up of yolk, which is not ht eprotoplasm.

The factors which govern the cell size are

The Nucleo-cytoplasmic index. i.e., the ratio between the volume of nucleus and the

The ratio of cell surface to the cell volume.

The act of metabolism.

The nucleocytoplasmic index (Np) OR (KI) Karyoplasmic index is expressed as


Where, Vn = Nuclear Volume

Vc � Cellular Volume


It is defined as the ability of somatic cell of a plant to produce a new complete


This concept was proposed by Haberlandt. He is regarded as father of plant tissue


The first evidence of cellular totipotency was given by Steward in carrot cultures.

Gautheret, Nobecourt and White got success in raising the callus cultures of
differentiated cells excised from mesophyll, pith, endosperm and secondary phloem.

The undifferentiated mass of cells in tissue culture is known as callus. When the
callus shows differentiation of shoots and roots then it is called embryoids.

Guha and Maheshwari cultured the anthers of Datura to produce haploid plants.

The number of cells differ in different organisms. In some lower forms of life, the
body is made up of a single cell. They are called as unicellular organisms. In
plants and animals the body is made up of numerous cells as aggregates of cell.
These are called as multicellular organisms. In unicellular organisms, all life
functions are carried out by internal structures called as organelles while in
multicellular organisms life function are performed by organs. Multicellular
organisms have a great capacity to survive as compared to the unicellular
organisms. The major differences between unicellular & multicellular organisms are
given below:

Unicellular Organisms Multicellular Organisms
Body of the organism is made up of a single cell. The body of multicellular
organism is made up of numerous cells.
Body organization is simple.
Organization is complex.
The function of the whole organism is carried out by a single cell. Specialized
functions are performed by different cells, tissues, organs or organ systems.
Division of labor in the organism is at organelle level. Division of labor in
the organism may be at cellular level, tissue level, organs and organ system level.

Usually prokaryotic in nature and Protista They are

mostly eukaryotic in nature.
The body of the cell is exposed to the environment on all sides. Outer cells
face the environment.
Any injury to cell can cause death of the organism. Injury or death of some
cells does not affect the
organisms, the affected cells are replaced.
A limit is imposed to the size of the cell by the surface area to volume ratio and
hence it can attain large size. Due to multicellularity the organism can
attain large size.
Lifespan of the organism is usually short.
Organisms have a longer lifespan.
Reproduction is by vegetative/asexual methods.
Reproduction is sexual type.
Genome has a few introns. High introns are present in the genome.
Has good capacity of regeneration and power of division. Capacity of
regeneration decreases with increase in
specialization and certain cells that are specialized loose the power of division.
There is no cell differentiation process.
Cell differentiation is evident.
Nutrition is by engulfing food. Nutrition is by specific organs or by food
production. They can be
autotrophs or heterotrophs.
They are microscopic in nature.
They are macroscopic in nature.

eg Fungi, Plantae, Animalia

Monera Protista

Protoplasm (Proto = first, plasm = fluid)

Protoplasm is a complex, granular, elastic, viscous and colourless substance. It is

selectively or differentially permeable. It is considered as �Polyphasic colloidal


(1) J. Huxley defined it as �physical basis of life�.

(2) Dujardin (1835) discovered it and called them �sarcode�.
(3) Purkinje (1837) renamed it as �Protoplasm�.
(4) Hugo Von Mohl (1844) gave the significance of it.
(5) Max Schultz (1861) gave the protoplasmic theory for plants.
(6) Fischer (1894) and Hardy (1899) showed its colloidal nature.
(7) Altman (1893) suggested protoplasm as granular.

Chemically Composition
Water 75 � 85% Carbon 20%
Proteins 10 � 25% Oxygen 62%
Lipids 2 � 3% Hydrogen 10%
Inorganic Materials 1% Nitrogen 3%
Trace elements 5% (Ca, P, Cl, S, K, Na, Mg, I, Fe etc.)
Maximum water content in protoplasm is found in hydrophytes, i.e., 95% where as
minimum in seeds, spores (dormant organs) i.e., 10 � 15%. In animals water is less
(about 65%) and proteins are more (about 15%).

Properties of protoplasm

(1) Cyclosis movement: These are shown by protoplasm. These are of two types.
Rotation: In one direction, either clockwise or anticlockwise e.g., Hydrilla,
Vallisneria. Found only in eukaryotes.

Circulation: Multidirectional movements around vacuole e.g., Tradescantia.

(2) It shows stimulation or irritability, Sol�gel transformation and Brownian


(3) It is highly viscous and coagulates at 60o C or above or if treated with

concentrated acids or bases.

(4) It�s pH is on acidic side, but different vital activities occur at neutral pH
which is considered as 7, injury decreases the pH of the cell (i.e., 5.2 � 5.5) and
if it remains for a long time, the cell dies.

In biology, a living organism is any contiguous living system, such as a

vertebrate, insect, plant or bacterium. The basic functional & structural unit of
all living organisms is cell. All organisms are made up of cells. Although more
than 99 percent of all species of organisms that ever lived on the planet are
estimated to be extinct, there are currently 10�14 million species of life on
Earth. All known types of organism are capable of some degree of response to
stimuli, reproduction, growth and development and self-regulation (homeostasis).


1. Growth: All livings beings grow. In unicellular organisms, it can be increase in

size and mass, whereas in multicellular, it is increase in the number of

The growth takes place by cell &vision. In plants, the growth by cell division
occurs continuously throughout their life span and therefore, is indefinite,
whereas in animals this growth is seen only up to a certain age and hence it is

2. Reproduction: The reproduction means to produce progeny possessing features more

or less similar to those of the parents. The organisms can reproduce asexually as
well as sexually.

There are different methods of asexual reproduction in different forms of

organisms. In unicellular organisms increase in the number of cells is equivalent
to reproduction.

3. Metabolism: All living beings show metabolism. It is defined as sum total of all
chemical reactions taking - place in the body of an organism. Some of the chemical
reactions are constructive and are called as anabolic, whereas others are
destructive and are called as- catabolic. If anabolism exceeds catabolism, growth
takes place.

4. Irritability: All living beings respond to the external stimuli. The response
given by an organism to the stimulus is called as Irritability. It is because of
presence of either nervous system or some sensory structures in different forms of

An organism may be either a prokaryote or a eukaryote. Prokaryotes are represented

by two separate domains, the Bacteria and Archaea. Eukaryotic organisms are
characterized by the presence of a membrane-bound cell nucleus and contain
additional membrane-bound compartments called organelles (such as mitochondria in
animals and plants and plastids in plants and algae, all generally considered to be
derived from endosymbiotic bacteria). Fungi, animals and plants are examples of
kingdoms of organisms within the eukaryotes.

Prokaryotic cell Eukaryotic cell

Average Cell size 0.1 � 2 �m Average Cell size 1 � 10 �m
Genetic material is naked, nuclear membrane absent. DNA without histones.
Genetic material is enclosed in nuclear membrane. Genetic material is
represented by chromosome. DNA is associated with histones.
Cell wall Present Cell wall is present in plant cell absent in animal cell
Plasma membrane is present Plasma membrane is present.
Mitochondria is absent but mesosomes present Mitochondria is present
Endoplasmic reticulum are absents. Endoplasmic reticulum are present
Thylakoids, If present, lies freely in the cytoplasm. Never surrounded by membrane
to form organelle. Thylakoids are grouped inside the chloroplasts.

Ribosomes are 70s type and lie freely inside cytoplasm. Ribosomes are present
either freely in cytoplasm or associated with ER (80s type). Inside organelles
Centrioles are absent Centrioles are present only in animal cells.
Flagella sometimes present, made up of single strand & without differentiation of
axoneme & sheath. The flagella if present are 11 (9+2) stranded and show
differentiation into axoneme and sheath.
Plasmids & pili are found in many prokaryotic cells. Plasmids and pili are absent
in eukaryotes
Spindle formation Does not occur Spindle formation occurs.
There are no streaming movements of cytoplasm. Cytoplasm shows streaming

All living beings are made up of cell. 'The cell is the basic morphological and
functional unit of life.' Schleiden and Schwann in 1838-1839, formulated the
theory, which originally contained following two statements

1. All living beings are made up of cells and products formed by the cells.

2. Cells are the structural and functional units of life.

The cell theory as stated by Schleiden and Schwann failed to explain the question
of origin of cells. A major expansion of cell theory was expressed by Virchow in
1855, in his statement 'Omnis cellula e cellula' (all cells arise from pre-existing
cells). This concept, was the actual idea of Nagelli (1846), Which was later on
elaborated ny Virchow, along with considerable evidences in its support.

The work of Nagelli and Virchow established cell division as the central phenomenon
in the continuity of life.

Viruses are exception to cell theory as they are not composed of cell. They consist
of a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA surrounded by a protein sheath and are incapable of
independent existence, self regulation and self reproduction.

Cells are complex and highly organized

� They contain numerous internal structures

� Some are membrane bound (organelles) while others do not

Cells contain a genetic blueprint and machinery to use it

� Genes are instructions for cells to create specific proteins

� All cells use the same types of information

? The genetic code is universal

? The machinery used for synthesis is interchangeable � However, for this to

function properly, information transfer must be error free

? Errors are called mutations

Cells arise from the division of other cells

� Daughter cells inherit the genes from the mother cells

� Binary fission - cell division in bacteria

� Mitosis - the genetic complement of each daughter cell is identical to the other
and to the mother cell. This is asexual reproduction

� Meiosis - the genetic complement of each daughter cell is reduced by half and
each daughter cell is genetically unique. This is used in sexual reproduction

� Daughter cells inherit cytoplasm and organelles from the mother cells

o Asexual - organelles from mother cell

o Sexual - organelles predominately from one parent

? In eukaryotes, the chloroplasts and mitochondria come from the egg cell

? This can be used to trace the evolutionary origin of the organism

Cells acquire and utilize energy

� Plant cells undergo photosynthesis

? convert light energy and CO2 to chemical energy (ATP and glucose)

� Most cells respire

? release energy found in organic compounds

? convert organic compounds to CO2 and O2

? make ATP

Cells can perform a variety of chemical reactions

� Transform simple organic molecules into complex molecules (anabolism)

� Breakdown complex molecules to release energy (catabolism)

� Metabolism = all reactions performed by cells

Cells can engage in mechanical activities

� Cells can move

� Organelles can move

� Cells can respond to stimuli

? chemotaxis - movement towards chemicals

? phototaxis - movement towards light

? Hormone responses (response to chemicals messengers)

? Touch responses ( resonse to stimuli)

Cells can regulate activities

� Cells control DNA synthesis and cell division

� Gene regulation - cells make specific proteins only when needed

� Turn on and off metabolic pathways

Cells all contain the following structures:

� Plasma membrane - separates the cell from the external environment

� Cytoplasm - fluid-filled cell interior

� Nuclear material - genetic information stored as DNA

Cell theory :

It was formulated by Schieiden and Schwann in 1838-39. This theory, however, was
not able to explain how new cells are formed. It was Rudolf Virchow (1855) who was
the first to explain that cells divide and new cells arise from the pre-existing
cells (Omnis Cellula-e-Cellula). Later Nagali (1846) and Rudolf Virchow (1855)
modified the hypothesis of Schleiden and Schwann to give the cell theory a final
shape. However, it was Louis Pasteur (1862) whose experiment successfully
established that life originates from pre-existing life.

The actual credit for cell theory goes to two German scientists, a Botanist M.J.
Schleiden (1838) and a Zoologist T. Schwann (1839). They gave the concept �all
living organisms are composed of cell�. Schleiden and Schwann both supported the
theory of �spontaneous generation�. They also mentioned that �the new cell arises
from nucleus by budding�.

Modification of cell theory: Modification of cell theory was done by Rudolf Virchow
(1855). He proposed the �law of cell lineage� which states that cell originates
from pre-existing cells. i.e., (omnis cellula-e-cellula). It is also called �cell
principle� or �cell doctrine�. It states:

(1) Life exists only in cells.

(2) Membrane bound cell organelles of the protoplasm do not survive alone or
outside the protoplasm.

(3) Cells never arise de novo. The new cells are like the parent cell in all

(4) All cells have similar fundamental structure and metabolic reactions.

(5) Cells display homeostasis and remain alive.

(6) Genetic information is stored in DNA and expressed within the cells.

(7) DNA controls structure and working of a cell.

? Exception to cell theory

? Viruses do not have cellular organisation.

? Bacteria and blue-green algae are prokaryotes and they do not possess true

? Fungi like Mucor, Rhizopus and algae like Vaucheria are tubular and
multinucleated. Hence, they do not confirm to the normal definition of a cell.

This theory is put forward by German biologists Schwann and Schleiden. It states
that the bodies of all organisms are made up of cells and their products so that
cells are units of both structure and function of living organisms.
Haeckel established that nucleus stores and transmits hereditary traits.

� postulates of cell theory

? All organisms are made up of cells and their products.

? Cell consists of nucleus, cytoplasm, cell organelles.

? All cells show similarity in structure, chemical composition and metabolism.

? Genetic information is stored and expressed inside cells.

? New cells are produced from abiotic material analogous to crystal formation.

? Cells are responsible for metabolic activities with living organisms.

? Cells contain hereditary material.

? The function of an organism is the outcome of the co-ordinated activities and

interaction of the constituent of cells.

? Cell is structural unit of living beings.

? Modification of cell theory

? Schleiden said new cells were formed inside old are called cytoblast. This
concept was later on found to be wrong by Hugo Von Mohl. Schwann said that cell
could be spontaneously generated analogous to crystal formation which is wrong.

? Rudolf Virchow proposed theory of lineage which states "Omnis cellula a cellula"
which means that new cell are formed from the pre-existing cells.
Robert Brown observed nucleus first time in the root cells of orchid.

A unicellular organism, also known as a single-celled organism, is an organism that
consists of only one cell, unlike a multicellular organism that consists of
multiple cells. Unicellular organisms carry out all specialized functions within a
single cell. Historically the simple single celled organisms have sometimes been
referred to as monads. The main groups of unicellular organisms are bacteria,
archaea, protozoa, unicellular algae and unicellular fungi. Unicellular organisms
fall into two general categories: prokaryotic organisms and eukaryotic organisms.
Unicellular organisms are believed to be the oldest form of life, possibly existing
3.8 billion years ago.

Prokaryotes, most Protista, and some fungi, are unicellular. Although some of these
organisms live in colonies, they are still unicellular. These organisms live
together, and each cell in the colony is the same. However, each individual cell
must carry out all life processes to survive. In contrast, even the simplest
multicellular organisms have cells that depend on each other to survive.

?Properties of unicellular organisms are as follows:

� Body organization is simple.

� The function of the whole organism is carried out by a single cell.

� Division of labor in the organism is at organelle level.

� Usually prokaryotic in nature.

� The body of the cell is exposed to the environment on all sides. Any injury to
cell can cause death of the organism.

� A limit is imposed to the size of the cell by the surface area to volume ratio
and hence it can attain large size.

� Lifespan of the organism is usually short.

� Reproduction is by vegetative/asexual methods.

� Genome has a few introns.

� Has good capacity of regeneration and power of division.

� There is no cell differentiation process.

� Nutrition is by engulfing food.

� They are microscopic in nature.

Multicellular organisms are organisms that consist of more than one cell, in
contrast to single-celled organisms.

In particular all species of animals, land plants and filamentous fungi are
multicellular, as are many algae. Some organisms are partially unicellular and
multicellular, like Dictyostelium.

Properties of multicellular organisms are as follows:

� The body of multicellular organism is made up of numerous cells.

� Organization is complex.

� Specialized functions are performed by different cells, tissues, organs or organ


� Division of labor in the organism may be at cellular level, tissue level, organs
and organ system level.

� They are mostly eukaryotic in nature.

� Outer cells face the environment.

� Injury or death of some cells does not affect the organisms, the affected cells
are replaced.

� Due to multicellularity the organism can attain large size.

� Organisms have a longer lifespan.

� Reproduction is sexual type.

� High introns are present in the genome.

� Capacity of regeneration decreases with increase in specialization and certain

cells that are specialized loose the power of division.

� Cell differentiation is evident.

� Nutrition is by specific organs or by food production. They can be autotrophs or


� They are macroscopic in nature.

It is a Double membrane system
Cell wall surrounds the plasma membrane in some protists, most fungi and all plant
Animal cell lacks it.
It is composed of polysaccharide. Strengthening material is chitin in fungi and
cellulose in others plants.
It lacks respiratory enzymes.
Cytoplasm contains various cell organelles.
Ribosomes are both 80 S and 70 S type.
Cytoplasm show streaming movements.
It is enveloped by nuclear envelope. Nucleus is distinct from cytoplasm.
Nuclear DNA is linear and associated with histone proteins extranuclear DNA is
circular and histones protein free.
Sexual reproduction is present.
Cell division is typically mitotic.

� A eukaryote is any organism whose cells contain a nucleus and other organelles
enclosed within membranes.

� Eukaryotes belong to the taxon Eukarya or Eukaryota.

� Eukaryotic cells are characterized by extensive compartmentalization of cytoplasm

& presence of membrane-bound organelles.

� Many unicellular organisms are eukaryotes, such as protozoa & all multicellular
organisms are eukaryotes, including animals, plants and fungi.

� All eukaryotic cells are not identical. Plant and animal cells differ from each.


Plants cell Animal cell

1. Cell wall Present, mainly made up of cellulose and surrounds the plasma
membrane. Absent.
Plasma membrane is the outer limiting membrane.
2. Plastids Present Absent
3. Vacuole Large vacuoles are present. Generally absent, if present, they have
small size.
4. Centriole
Present in vertebrates.
Absent in invertebrates.
5. Nucleus Nucleus is peripheral due to large central vacuole. Nucleus generally
lie at the centre.
6. Mitochondria
Usually fewer. Generally numerous.
7. Cristae
Tubular in shape
Plate like.

8. Cytokinesis By cell plate method. By cell furrow method.

6. Deplasmolysis When plant cell is deplasmolysed, the cells do not burst due to
the presence of cell wall. When deplasmolysed, animal cells burst due to absence
of cell wall.

Eukaryotic cell consists of the following structural components:

1. Cell wall & plasma membrane- It forms the outer envelope of cell.

2. Cytoplasm � It contains all the membrane less cell organelles which include
mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, plastids, lysosomes,
sphearosomes, microbodies & vacuoles as well as membrane-bound cell organelles
which include inclusion bodies, centrioles & eukaryotic ribosomes. It also contains
cytoskeletal elements which includes microtubules, intermediate filaments & actin
3. Nucleus � The nucleus consists of 4 parts i.e. nuclear membrane, nucleoplasm,
nucleolus & chromatin material.

The prokaryotic cell shows the following structural components:

1. Cell envelope:

Most of the prokaryotic cells have a chemically complex cell envelope. It consists
of three basic layers, namely glycocalyx, cell wall and cell membrane (plasma

a Glycocalyx: It is the outermost layer made up of macromolecules which help in

adhesion of bacteria.

b. Cell wall:

It is present below the glycocalyx. It provides definite shape and gives strong
structural support.

c. Plasma membrane:

It is the innermost covering of the cell envelope chemically composed of lipids and
proteins. The plasma membrane separates the interior of the cell from its
environment, serves as a barrier and helps in intercellular communication.

2. Cytoplasm:

Cytoplasm is a semi-fluid ground substance or matrix present inner to the cell

membrane of a prokaryotic cell. It consists of variety of inorganic and organic
compounds which provides a suitable chemical environment for cellular activities.

The cytoplasm lacks membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, endoplasmic

reticulum. Golgi bodies, lysosomes. Certain membranous structures like mesosomes
and chromatophores are observed beside inclusion bodies.

i. Mesosomes: These are invaginations of plasma membrane into the cell in the form
of vesicles, tubules and lamellae. The exact function of mesosomes is still not

ii. Chromatophores: These are usually found in photosynthetic bacteria and

cyanobacteria. They contain different type of pigments such as
bacteriochlorophylls, bacteriophaeophytin and carotenoids.

iii. Inclusion Bodies: These are kind of storage granules that lie free in the
cytoplasm and are of two types, as:

a. Organic inclusions: These include cyanophycean starch granules and glycogen


b. Inorganic inclusions: These include phosphates and Sulphur granules.

3. Ribosomes:

The cytoplasmic matrix of a prokaryotic cell possesses dense particles called


They are made up of RN A and protein.

The prokaryotic ribosomes are of 70S type.

Each 70S is composed of two sub-unit: 50S and 30S.

Function: They help in protein synthesis.

4. Genetic Material (Nucleoid):

The prokaryotic cell do not have membrane-bound nucleus.

The genetic material consists of a long, double-stranded, circular DNA molecule

known as prokaryotic chromosome.

5. Plasmids:

The prokaryotic cell may possess one or more additional molecules of circular DNA
or mini chromosomes.

This extra chromosomal DNA is called plasmid.

Plasmid is autonomous and self-replicating with few genes which provide extra-
survival advantage. Plasmids can carry out additional functions, such as antibiotic
resistance and fertility.

The term 'cytoplasm' and 'nucleoplasm' were given by Strasburger.

The substance occurs around the nucleus and inside the plasma membrane containing
various organelles and inclusions is called cytoplasm.

(1) The cytoplasm is a semisolid, jelly � like material. It consists of an aqueous,

structureless ground substance called cytoplasmic matrix or hyaloplasm or cytosol.

(2) It forms about half of the cell�s volume and about 90% of it is water.

(3) It contains ions, biomolecules, such as sugar, amino acid, nucleotide, tRNA,
enzyme, vitamins, etc.

(4) The cytosol also contains storage products such as glycogen/starch, fats and
proteins in colloidal state.
(5) It also forms crystallo � colloidal system.

(6) Cytomatrix is differentiated into ectoplasm or plasmagel (outer) and endoplasm

or plasmasol (inner).

(7) Cytomatrix is three dimensional structure appear like a network of fine threads
and these threads are called microfilaments (now called actin filaments or
microtrabecular lattice) and it is believed to be a part of cytoskeleton. It also
contains microtubules and inter mediate cytoplasmic filaments.

(8) Hyaloplasm contains metabolically inactive products or cell inclusions called

deutoplast or metaplasts.

(9) Cytoplasmic organelles are plastid, lysosome, sphaerosome, peroxisome,

glyoxysomes, mitochondria, ribosome, centrosome, flagellum or cilia etc.

(10) The movement of cytoplasm is termed as cyclosis (absent in plant cells).

� Cytoplasm

It is jelly-like semifluid general mass of protoplasm excluding the nucleus but

including all other components - cytoplasmic matrix, cell organelles and cell
Cytoplasmic matrix or cytosol.

? Cyclosis-Cytoplasm shows streaming movement called as cyclosis. It is of two


Cytoplasm was discovered by Kolliker in 1862.

� It is the site of both biosynthetic and catabolic pathways.
� It can be divided into two parts:
(i) Cytosol: Aqueous soluble part contains various fibrous proteins forming
(ii) Cell organelles: Living part of the cells having definite shape, structure
and function bounded By Plasma membrane.

Solved Examples:
1. What does cytoplasm do in a cell?
Cytoplasm in a plant cell serves the same purposes that it does in any other type
of cell. These are:
- To give the cell form
- To house the cell's other organelles
- And sometimes to hold certain chemicals needed by the cell.