The Ultrastructure and Function of Organelles

The Ultrastructure and Function of Organelles

Basic Concepts

  • Cells are the smallest unit of life, and all living organisms are made of cells.
  • Each cell contains smaller parts known as organelles that have specific roles in cell function.
  • Organelles work together to ensure the cell can carry out life processes such as growth, repair, and reproduction.
  • The structure of each organelle plays a key role in its function and the overall function of the cell.

Major Organelles and their Functions

  • The nucleus controls the activities of the cell and contains the DNA, which carries the cell’s genetic information
  • The mitochondria provides energy for the cell through the process of respiration.
  • The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is involved in the production, processing, and transport of proteins and lipids.
  • The Golgi apparatus modifies, sorts, and packages proteins and lipids for transport out of the cell.
  • Lysosomes contain enzymes for digestion and breakdown of waste materials and foreign substances.
  • Ribosomes are the site of protein synthesis.
  • Chloroplasts, found in plant cells, are the site of photosynthesis where light energy is converted into chemical energy.
  • The cell wall, also found in plant cells, provides an extra layer of protection and support.

Eukaryotic vs Prokaryotic Cells

  • Eukaryotic cells contain a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles, and they make up organisms such as animals, plants, fungi, and protists.
  • Prokaryotic cells lack a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles, are usually smaller, and are found in bacteria and archaea.

Understanding the ultrastructure and function of organelles is vital for gaining a comprehensive understanding of cells and their role in biology.