Goodman, Steven R. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Prokaryotic (bacterial) cells
- Eukaryotic cells
- Plasma membrane
- Endoplasmic reticulum
- Golgi apparatus
- Additional features of plant cells
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The microscopic functional and structural unit of all living organisms. Cells can be separated into prokaryotic and eukaryotic categories. Eukaryotic cells contain a nucleus. They comprise protists (single-celled organisms), fungi, plants, and animals, and they are generally 5–100 micrometers (μm) in linear dimension. Prokaryotic cells contain no nucleus, are relatively small (1–10 μm in diameter), and have a simple internal structure (Fig. 1). They include two classes of bacteria: eubacteria (including photosynthetic organisms, or cyanobacteria), which are common bacteria that inhabit soil, water, and larger organisms; and archaebacteria, which grow under unusual conditions. The archaebacteria include methanogens, which live in anaerobic conditions and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) to methane (swamp gas); halophiles, which thrive under extremely high salt conditions; and sulfur bacteria, which grow in hot (80°C; 176°F) sulfur springs, where the pH is extremely acidic. See also: Archaea; Bacteria; Cell biology; Eukaryota; Prokaryote
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