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Learning objectives

  • Explain the distinguishing characteristics of prokaryotic cells
  • Describe common cell morphologies and cellular arrangements typical of prokaryotic cells and explain how cells maintain their morphology
  • Describe internal and external structures of prokaryotic cells in terms of their physical structure, chemical structure, and function
  • Compare the distinguishing characteristics of bacterial and archaeal cells

Cell theory states that the cell is the fundamental unit of life. However, cells vary significantly in size, shape, structure, and function. At the simplest level of construction, all cells possess a few fundamental components. These include cytoplasm (a gel-like substance composed of water and dissolved chemicals needed for growth), which is contained within a plasma membrane (also called a cell membrane or cytoplasmic membrane); one or more chromosomes, which contain the genetic blueprints of the cell; and ribosomes , organelles used for the production of proteins.

Beyond these basic components, cells can vary greatly between organisms, and even within the same multicellular organism. The two largest categories of cells— prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells —are defined by major differences in several cell structures. Prokaryotic cells lack a nucleus surrounded by a complex nuclear membrane and generally have a single, circular chromosome located in a nucleoid. Eukaryotic cells have a nucleus surrounded by a complex nuclear membrane that contains multiple, rod-shaped chromosomes. Y.-H.M. Chan, W.F. Marshall. “Scaling Properties of Cell and Organelle Size.” Organogenesis 6 no. 2 (2010):88–96.

All plant cells and animal cells are eukaryotic. Some microorganisms are composed of prokaryotic cells, whereas others are composed of eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotic microorganisms are classified within the domains Archaea and Bacteria, whereas eukaryotic organisms are classified within the domain Eukarya.

The structures inside a cell are analogous to the organs inside a human body, with unique structures suited to specific functions. Some of the structures found in prokaryotic cells are similar to those found in some eukaryotic cells; others are unique to prokaryotes. Although there are some exceptions, eukaryotic cells tend to be larger than prokaryotic cells. The comparatively larger size of eukaryotic cells dictates the need to compartmentalize various chemical processes within different areas of the cell, using complex membrane-bound organelles. In contrast, prokaryotic cells generally lack membrane-bound organelles; however, they often contain inclusions that compartmentalize their cytoplasm. [link] illustrates structures typically associated with prokaryotic cells. These structures are described in more detail in the next section.

A diagram of a rod-shaped prokaryotic cell. The thick outer layer is called the capsule, inside of that is a thinner cell wall and inside of that is an even thinner plasma membrane. Inside of the plasma membrane is a fluid called the cytoplasm, little dots called ribosomes, small spheres called inclusions, a small loop of DNA called a plasmid, and a large folded loo of DNA called the nucleoid. Long projections start at the plasma membrane and extend out of the capsule; these are called flagella (singular: flagellum). A shorter projection is labeled pilus. And many very short projections are labeled fimbriae.
A typical prokaryotic cell contains a cell membrane, chromosomal DNA that is concentrated in a nucleoid, ribosomes, and a cell wall. Some prokaryotic cells may also possess flagella, pili, fimbriae, and capsules.

Common cell morphologies and arrangements

Individual cells of a particular prokaryotic organism are typically similar in shape, or cell morphology . Although thousands of prokaryotic organisms have been identified, only a handful of cell morphologies are commonly seen microscopically. [link] names and illustrates cell morphologies commonly found in prokaryotic cells. In addition to cellular shape, prokaryotic cells of the same species may group together in certain distinctive arrangements depending on the plane of cell division. Some common arrangements are shown in [link] .

Questions & Answers

suitable example for prokaryotes
Suvetha Reply
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Suvetha
uv radiation and lighting
Anisha
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Jeremiah Reply
it's caused by a virulent bacteria called Salmonella Typhi
Sarah
write the life cycle of HIV
Firomsa Reply
describe the internal and external structure of prokaryotic cell in terms of there appearance and functions
Lenia Reply
compare and contrast similar structures found in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
Lenia
control of microorganisms
ISTEFAZUL Reply
how can a doctor treat a person affected by endospore forming bacteria in his/her wound?
Mambo Reply
a 28 years old woman come to your clinic with complain of fever painful genital blisters which express clear fluid when ruptured burning sensation around the bristers what is the diagnosis?
Ramadhani Reply
genital herpes caused by a virus called herpe simplex virus
Doris
what is the reference between selective medium and differential medium?
Tony Reply
the micro flora of air is transient why
Princess
Hello.... Am new here
essien Reply
welcome essien
Muhammad
welcome essien
Beka
classification of gram positive
lissa Reply
classify gram positive
lissa
catalase test is done to differentiate between staph and strep. as staph is catalase positive while strep is catalase negative then staph is differentiate further on coagulase positive and coagulase negative. staph aureus is coagulase positive while staph epidermidis is coagulase negative.
Muhammad
gram positive staph is further differentiated on sensitivity test and manitol salt fermentation test while gram positive strep is differentiated on hemolysis pattern
Muhammad
more about gramm positive
lissa
please
lissa
ok
Blessing
am back any gist
Blessing
taxonomy
Rahul
can i use the graph of bacterial growth for my master's thesis?
Christoph Reply
facultative anaerobic bavteria gives uniform turdibity in nutrient broth why?
Princess Reply
oils and waxes are not sterilized in autoclave
Princess
what is the function of paraffin
Muhammad
@ MAHI because they can grow all over the media from surface to the bottom as they can utilize oxygen or conduct fermentation in its absence.
Online
2.@MAHI Autoclave uses steam under pressure. The steam cannot penetrate through oil and wax. Thus, dry heat sterilization is preferred than autoclave .
Online
thnku
Nadiya
how nutirent agar can converted into blood agar
Princess
thank you
Princess
take a nutrient agar ........and add 5ml blood and put in it ...........!
Nadiya
nutrient agar +blood 5ml+ distilled water =blood agar .
Nadiya
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Nadiya
hi
Rahul
why agar is not a neutrient source?
Shimul
because it's a general purpose agar only use for growing bacteria
Richa
way is antigen
opaleye
what is antigen
opaleye
antigen is a foreign body that cause activation of antibody?
ASNAKE
Antigen is a toxin or other foreign substance which induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies.
Shimul
thanks for that
opaleye
what is pharmacology
Luyenu
a science that studies about the drug
ASNAKE
hello ever one
Sayid
y
Abdul
Work hard
Anigor
y
Abdul
thanks alot
Luyenu
What is the major different between gram positive and gram negative bacteria.
Asikur
bacteria kya hai
Mala
content of their cell wall
Doris
koi mujhse basic microbiology ki study k Lea book suggest kro .
Richa
Harley prescott
Vikas
what are the five predisposing factors of opportunistic infections
Asher Reply
1. long term exposure to diseases, that the body immunity weakens.
prosper
2. Nature Of some diseases to weaken body immunity such as, AIDS.
prosper
3. Use of immuno-suppresive drugs.
prosper
anyone... need a hand here 🙋😞
prosper
Low immune is the major cause eg for kaposis sarcoma
Davismith
suitable conditions e.g temp,
Muhammad
what os gnormal flora
kifayat Reply
morphological and genetic classification of bacteria
Potter Reply
what is the morphogical
Bupe
h
Sudhir
morphologycal is defined as relating to the branch of biology that deals with the form of living organisms,and with relationship between their structures.
Nadiya
relating to the form or structure of things .
Nadiya
what is the meaning of lessions
oluwa

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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