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Cell Organelles

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What are Cell Organelles?

MVSAT 2024

The basic and fundamental unit of life is a cell. If at the cellular level, we break apart an organism, then the smallest independent component that would be visible would be the cell. Cells can be defined as the basic unit of life responsible for all life’s processes. 

A cell has the quality to replicate itself and thus is known as the building block of life. Inside each cell, fluid is present which is known as cytoplasm which is enclosed by a membrane. In the cytoplasm, there are several biomolecules present like lipids, nucleic acids and proteins. 


The cellular structures present are called the cell organelles that are suspended in the cytoplasm. Cells can be of various shapes and sizes, essentially like blocks of building structures.


An organelle, also called a little organ, is a tiny biological structure that performs a special function inside a cell. Cell organelles and components include the various vital components of the cell such as ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, nucleus, chloroplast, etc. Cell Organelles and components play an essential role in the functioning and working of the cell.

Cell Organelles Definition

The cellular components are called cell organelles. These cell organelles have both membrane (layer) and non-membrane(non-film) bound organelles, present inside the cells and are diverse in their designs and capacities. They coordinate and perform efficiently for the better functioning of the cell. A couple of them work by giving shape and backing, while some help with the movement and generation of cells. The various organelles present within the cell are classified into three categories as per the presence or absence of membrane - 

Organelles Without Membrane: The cell membrane, Ribosomes, and Cytoskeleton are non-membrane-bound cell organelles. They are present both in prokaryotic cells and therefore the eukaryotic cell.

Single Membrane-Bound Organelles:  These are Vacuole, Lysosome, Golgi bodies, Endoplasmic Reticulum present only during a eukaryotic cell.

Twofold film bound or double-membrane organelles: Nucleus, mitochondria and chloroplast are twofold layers bound organelles present only during a eukaryotic cell. 

Cell organelles/structures can be divided into three types:

General cell organelles: General cell organelles are found in both animal and plant cells –  cell membrane, reticulum, Golgi apparatus, cytosol, nucleus, mitochondrion, cytoplasm, lysosome, rough and smooth endoplasmic peroxisome, and the cytoskeleton.


Temporal cell organelles: Temporal cell organelles are found at particular stages of the cell’s life cycle – chromosome, the autophagosome, centrosome, and endosome.


Cell type-specific cell organelles: Cell type-specific cell organelles are only found in the plant cells – central vacuole, chloroplast, and cell wall.

List of Cell organelles

  • Cell membrane 

  • Cell Wall

  • Nucleus

  • Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)

  • Golgi Apparatus

  • Centriole

  • Lysozyme

  • Microfilaments

  • Chloroplast

  • Cytoplasm

  • Cytoskeleton

  • Intermediate filaments

  • Plasmodesmata

  • Endosomes

  • Microtubules

  • Storage granules

  • Plastids

  • Mitochondria

  • Vacuole

  • Peroxisomes

  • Ribosomes

  • Cilia and Flagella

  • Vesicles

  • Microvilli

List of Cell Organelles and their Functions

Plasma Membrane

The cell wall is additionally termed as a cell wall or cytoplasmic membrane which is composed of a lipid bilayer and proteins.


The plasma membrane is found in both plant and animal cells, it functions as a selective membrane that is permeable. This means that it only allows the entry of certain selective materials in and out of the cell according to the requirement. In an animal cell, the cell wall functions by providing shape and protecting the inner contents of the cell. 


The cytoplasm is present in both plant and animal cells. They are liquid and jelly-like substances filling all the area between the cell wall and nucleus. They are a combination of water, organic and inorganic compounds. The cytoplasm is one of the vital constituents of the cell. you can find all the cell organelles embedded in the cytoplasm. These cell organelles contain enzymes, mainly liable for controlling all metabolic activity happening within the cell and are the location for many of the chemical reactions within a cell.


The nucleus can be defined as a double-membraned organelle found in eukaryotic cells. Structurally the nucleus is round, covered by a nuclear membrane and is dark in colour. It resembles the shape of a cell membrane and forms a wall between the cytoplasm and nucleus. Nucleoli are tiny spherical bodies. But that is not all as you can also find the chromosomes in the nucleus.


Chromosomes are structurally thin and thread-like structures that carry another important structure called a gene. Genes are a hereditary unit in organisms i.e., it helps in the inheritance of traits from one generation (parents) to a different (offspring). The primary function of the nucleus is to watch cellular activities including metabolism and growth by making use of DNA’s genetic information. Nucleoli within the nucleus are liable for the synthesis of protein and RNA.

Endoplasmic Reticulum

The endoplasmic reticulum may be a network of membranous canals crammed with fluid. They are involved in transporting materials throughout the cell and are known as the transport system of the cell. 

There are two unique sorts of Endoplasmic Reticulum:

  1. Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum – They're composed of cisternae, tubules, and vesicles, which are found throughout the cell and are involved in protein manufacturing. 

  2. Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum – They're the storage organelle, related to the assembly of lipids, steroids, and also liable for detoxifying the cell.


Mitochondria are the double-membraned organelles that can be found within the cytoplasm of all eukaryotic cells which provides energy by breaking down carbohydrate and sugar molecules, hence they're also mentioned as the “Powerhouse of the cell.”


Plastids are double-membrane organelles that are found within the cells of plants and algae. These plastids play an important role in manufacturing food and storing it. Plastids generally consist of pigments that are often used in the process of photosynthesis. These pigments have the functionality of changing the colour of the cell.


Below are a number of the important plastids and their function -

  1. Leucoplasts

Leucoplasts can be found in non-photosynthetic tissues of plants which function as the storehouse of protein, lipid, and starch.

  1. Chloroplasts

Chloroplasts are a stretched organelle encased by phospholipid film. The chloroplast is formed sort of a disc and therefore the stroma is the fluid within the chloroplast that comprises a circular DNA. Every chloroplast contains a green-hued shade called chlorophyll which is utilized while undergoing photosynthesis. The chlorophyll absorbs light energy from the sun then uses it to convert CO2 and water into glucose.


Ribosomes are known to be macro-molecular machines that are found in almost all living cells for biological protein synthesis. That’s the reason, ribosomes are also known as the protein factories of the cell. Ribosomal RNA and Ribosomal proteins are the 2 components that together constitute ribosomes. The main function of the ribosomes consists of the protein synthesis in all living cells that ensure the survival of the cell.

Golgi Apparatus

Golgi Apparatus also referred to as Golgi body is an organelle found altogether in eukaryotic cells which are involved in distributing synthesized macromolecules to varied parts of the cell.


Microbodies are membrane-bound, minute, vesicular organelles, found in both plant and animal cells. They contain various enzymes and proteins and may be visualized only under the microscope. 


It is an endless network of filamentous proteinaceous structures that runs throughout the cytoplasm, from the nucleus to the cell wall. It is found altogether in living cells, notably within the eukaryotes. The cytoskeleton network is made out of various kinds of proteins that can partition quickly or dismantle contingent upon the necessity of the cells. The essential capacities incorporate giving the shape and mechanical protection from the cell against deformity, the contractile idea of the fibres helps in motility during cytokinesis.

Cilia and Flagella

Cilia are hair-like projections, small structures, present outside the cell membrane and work like oars to either move the cell or the ECF. Flagella are somewhat larger and are accountable for cell locomotion. The eukaryotic flagellum varies from its prokaryotic partner structurally. The centre of the cilium and flagellum is known as an axoneme, which contains nine sets of steadily organized peripheral microtubules and a bunch of central microtubules running corresponding to the axis. The central tubules are interconnected by a scaffold and embedded by a central sheath. One of the peripheral microtubular pairs is additionally interconnected to the central sheath by a radial spoke. Hence there's a complete set of 9 radial spokes. The cilia and flagella rise out from centriole-like forms known as basal bodies.

Centrosome and Centrioles

The centrosome organelle is composed of two commonly opposite structures known as centrioles. Each centriole consists of 9 equally spaced peripheral fibrils of tubulin protein, and therefore the fibril may be a set of interlinked triplets. The core, a part of the centriole, is understood as a hub and is proteinaceous. The hub connects the peripheral fibrils via radial spoke, which is formed from proteins. The centrioles from the basal bodies of the cilia and flagella produce spindle fibres during cellular division.


Vacuoles are generally characterized as storage bubbles of unpredictable shapes which are found in cells. They are liquid-filled organelles enclosed by a film. The vacuole stores the food or a spread of nutrients that a cell might need to survive. In addition, it also stores waste products. The byproducts are at last tossed out by vacuoles. Thus, the remainder of the cell is shielded from contamination. The animal and plant cells have different sizes and numbers of vacuoles. Compared to animals, plant cells have larger vacuoles.

Organelles of the Endomembrane System

The endomembrane system is a set of three major organelles together forming a system within the cell. These organelles work together to perform various cellular jobs such as the task of producing, packaging and exporting certain cellular products. The organelles of the endomembrane system comprise the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, and vesicles.

Endoplasmic Reticulum

A system of channels that is continuous with the nuclear membrane covering the nucleus and composed of the same lipid bilayer material is called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). It gives passages throughout much of the cell that function in transporting, synthesizing, and storing materials.

The Golgi Apparatus

It is responsible for sorting, modifying, and shipping off the cellular products that come from the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER), just like a post office. The Golgi apparatus is similar to stacked flattened discs, almost like stacks of oddly shaped pancakes. The Golgi apparatus has two distinct sides with each having a different role. 


An organelle that contains enzymes that break down and digest inessential cellular components, such as a damaged organelle is called the lysosome. Protein products packaged by the Golgi such as digestive enzymes are meant to stay inside the cell in order to break down certain materials. The enzyme-containing vesicles are released by the Golgi, and they may form new lysosomes or fuse with existing lysosomes. 

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FAQs on Cell Organelles

1. What is a Cell?

Cells can be defined as the basic unit of life upon which the survival of organisms is dependent. We are made up of trillions of cells, the basic unit of life on earth. Cells are the smallest unit of life that can function independently, creating their own energy. Cells communicate with each other and connect in order to build tissue and create a solid, well stuck-together animal. Cells form tissues, which form organs, and organs work together to keep the organism alive.

2. What are the Three Categories of Organelles?

The three categories of organelles are - organelles without membrane, single-membrane bound organelles and double-membrane bound organelles. 

Without membrane: Some cell organelles such as ribosomes are not bounded by any membrane. They are found in prokaryotic organisms and in eukaryotic organisms.


Single membrane-bound: Some organelles are confined by a single membrane. They are found only in a eukaryotic cell.


Double membrane-bound: The examples of double membrane-bound include mitochondria and chloroplast. They are found only in a eukaryotic cell.

3. What’s found inside a cell?

An organelle is a membrane-bound structure found inside a cell. Cells have membranes to hold everything in. Similarly, these mini-organs i.e. organelle is also confined in a double layer of phospholipids to insulate their little compartments within the larger cells. Cell organelles are present in the cytoplasm, a viscous liquid found within the cell membrane. It houses the cell organelles and is the place where most of the action has happened in a cell.

4. Explain the structure of the Cell Membrane.

Cell Membrane comprises a phospholipid bilayer along with 2 types of proteins- (i) embedded proteins, and (ii) peripheral proteins which are responsible for providing shape and allowing the movement of particles in and out of the cell.

Embedded proteins: The embedded proteins are responsible for the transfer of particles across the cell with some proteins acting as receptors for holding together various components.


Peripheral proteins: The peripheral proteins are responsible to provide fluidity as well as mechanical support to the structure of the cell.

5. Where can I get the concept of Cell Organelles - Meaning, List, Functions, and FAQs?

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