Compartmentalization is the key to eukaryotic cell function

Some of the
compartments in eukaryotic cells are like little factories that make
specific products. Others are like power plants that take in energy in one form
and convert it to a more useful form. These membranous compartments, as well as
other structures (such as ribosomes) that lack membranes but possess
distinctive shapes and functions, are called organelles . Each
of these organelles has specific roles in its particular cell. These roles are
defined by chemical reactions.

  • The nucleus contains
    most of the cell’s genetic material (DNA). The duplication of the genetic
    material and the first steps in decoding genetic information take place in
    the nucleus. The mitochondrion is a power plant and industrial park, where
    energy stored in the bonds of carbohydrates is converted to a form more
    useful to  the cell (ATP) and
    certain essential biochemical conversions of amino acids and fatty acids
  • The endoplasmic
    reticulum and Golgi apparatus are compartments in which proteins are
    packaged and sent to appropriate locations in the cell.
  • Lysosomes and vacuoles
    are cellular digestive systems in which large molecules are hydrolyzed
    into usable monomers.
  • Chloroplasts perform
The membrane
surrounding each organelle does two essential things: First, it keeps the
organelle’s molecules away from other molecules in the cell with which they
might react inappropriately. Second, it acts as a traffic regulator, letting
important raw materials into the organelle and releasing its products to the
cytoplasm. The evolution of compartmentalization was an important development
in the ability of eukaryotic cells to specialize, forming the organs and
tissues of a complex body.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here