Cell : The Unit of Life
What is a Cell?
A fundamental, structural and functional unit of all living organisms
Anton von Leeuwenhoek first described the live cells.
All living organisms are composed of cells and products of cells.
All cells arise from pre-existing cells.
Smallest cell: Mycoplasma (0.3 μm)
Largest cell: Ostrich egg
Longest cell: Nerve cell
Represented by bacteria, blue-green algae, PPLO and Mycoplasma
Smaller and rapidly multiplying
Vary greatly in shape and size
Have cell wall surrounding the cell membrane
Absence of a well-defined nucleus
May have plasmids − small, circular, extra-chromosomal DNAs present in addition to the genomic DNAs; this confers characteristics like antibiotic resistance to bacteria, and help in bacterial transformation with foreign DNA.
Absence of organelles (only ribosomes are found in prokaryotes)
Have mesosomes (specialised differentiated cell membranes); these are infoldings of the cell membrane
Have inclusion bodies
Cell Envelope in Prokaryotes
Cell Envelope − Three-Layered Structure
Glycocalyx (Outermost): May be present in the form of loose sheath called slime layer in some bacteria, or as a thick and tough capsule in others
Cell wall (middle): Determines the shape of a cell and provides a strong structural support
Plasma Membrane (innermost): Semi-permeable and structurally similar to that of eukaryotes
Formed by the extension of the plasma membrane into the cell
These extensions are made up of vesicles, tubules and lamellae.
Functions: Cell wall formation; DNA replication and distribution; respiration and secretion processes; increase surface area of plasma membrane and enzymatic content
Prokaryotic Cell may be − Motile or Non-Motile
Motile: Have flagella
Non-motile: Lack flagella
Flagella has three parts: Filament, Hook, Basal body
Pili (tubular structures made of proteins) and fimbriae (bristle-like fibres) are also present along with flagella, but their function is attachment (to the substratum or the host cell).
Depending upon the cell envelope, bacteria are of two types:
Gram positive − take up gram stain
Gram negative − do not take up gram stain
Associated with plasma membrane
Made up of two subunits: 50S and 30 S = 70S
Site of protein synthesis
Polysome: When several ribosomes attach to a single mRNA
Help in the translation of mRNA into proteins
Reserve material in prokaryotic cells is stored in the form of inclusion bodies.
Suspended freely in the cytoplasm, e.g., phosphate granules or glycogen granules
Gas vacuoles: found in blue-green, purple and green photosynthetic bacteria
Let us find out some more differences between gram positive and gram negative bacteria.Gram Positive Bacteria Gram Negative Bacteria They retain the crystal violet stain during gram staining. They do not retain the crystal violet stain during…
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