The Differences Between The Prokaryotic And Eukaryotic Cells

Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of life this means that the cell carries out all of life processes. The cell is what keeps living organisms going. In this article we would be looking at the two types of cells, their structure and components, the functions of these cell components and the differences between these cells.

There are two types of cells and they are;

1.Prokaryotic Cell

2.Eukaryotic Cell

The Prokaryotic Cell

The prokaryotic cell is a cell that lacks a nucleus and membrane bound organelles. The nucleus is an organelle in the cell that controls and regulates the activities of the cell. A prokaryotic cell can be found in microscopic organisms like the bacteria and archea.

Structure of a Prokaryotic Cell

The prokaryotic cells do not contain a lot of organelles like the eukaryotic cells and there are different features that make the structure of a prokaryotic cell.

Cell Wall:

The cell wall is present in prokaryotic cells to give it shape.

Cell Membrane:

The cell membrane is a layer of phospholipid found in both the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and it’s function is to control what goes in and out of the cell.


The cytoplasm of the cell is a gel-like substance found inside the cell. It is the medium where the chemical reaction of the cell takes place.

Nucleoid Region:

The nucleoid region of the prokaryotic cell contains the cell’s DNA and RNA.


Vacuoles are present in prokaryotic cells but they are small unlike the ones found in eukaryotic cells. The functions of the vacuole are storing of nutrients and elimination of waste materials.

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The cytoskeleton helps in maintaining the cell’s shape and internal organization and also provides mechanical support for the cell.


The ribosomes are complex molecules made of ribosomal RNA and they are responsible for the protein synthesis in the cell.


The flagella (singular: flagellum) is used for movement.


The pili is a protein structure that extends out of the prokaryotic cell and they function to attach the cells to surfaces.


Capsules are found on the utmost structures of prokaryotic cells. The functions of the capsules are to protect the cells during killing.

DNA and RNA:

The function of the DNA is to store and transfer genetic information, while RNA directly codes for amino acids and acts as a messenger between the DNA and ribosome to make proteins.

Inclusion Bodies:

The inclusion bodies serve as storage vessels of the prokaryotic cells.

The Eukaryotic Cell

The eukaryotic cells are cells that are found in plants and animals. It is a  very complex cell unlike the prokaryotic cells. The eukaryotic cells contain nucleus and membrane bound organelles.

Structure of a Eukaryotic Cell

Here are the different features that make up the structure of a eukaryotic cell.

Cell Wall:

The cell wall of the eukaryotic cells gives it shape. It also protects the cells against mechanical and osmotic stress.

Cell Membrane:

The cell membrane, also called the plasma membrane, is found in all cell types and it separates the interior of the cell from the outside environment. The eukaryotic cell membrane consists of a lipid bilayer that is semipermeable. It regulates the transport of materials entering and exiting the cell.

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The cytoplasm is a gel-like substance found inside the cell. It is the site where the chemical reaction of the cell takes place.


The ribosomes are small organelles present in the cell. They are responsible for the production of proteins within the cell.


Vacuoles are membrane-bound organelles that can be found in both the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The functions of the vacuole are handling waste products, they take in waste products and also get rid of waste products. 

Golgi Bodies:

The golgi body also called the golgi apparatus are organelles that are present only in the eukaryotic cells. They help in processing and packaging proteins and lipid molecules.

Endoplasmic Reticulum:

The endoplasmic reticulum is found only in eukaryotic cells, it can either be smooth or rough, and in general its function is to produce proteins for the rest of the cell to function. 

Types of Endoplasmic Reticulum

There are two types of endoplasmic reticulum and they are;


  • Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum

As the name implies, the rough endoplasmic reticulum is rough. It is lined with ribosomes which are small round organelles that produce proteins. The rough endoplasmic reticulum is also composed of many folds of tissues.

The function of the endoplasmic reticulum is to produce, fold,and dispatch proteins.


  • Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum
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The smooth endoplasmic reticulum functions in different metabolic processes. Its functions are the synthesization of lipids, phospholipids as in plasma membranes, and steroids.


The functions of the nucleus are controlling and regulating the activities of the cell (e.g., growth and metabolism) and carrying of the genes, structures that contain the hereditary information.


The function of a centrosome is to help the cell organize microtubules and also provide structure for the cell, as well as work to pull chromatids apart during cell division.


The lysosomes function as the digestive system of the cell, it degrades material taken up from outside the cell and digest components of the cell which are not in use.


The mitochondria, also called the powerhouse of the cell, generates most of the chemical energy required by the cell.


The vesicles are small structures that are found within a cell, they consist of fluid enclosed by a lipid bilayer involved in transport, buoyancy control, and enzyme storage.

Differences Between The Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

Cell Components  Prokaryotic Cell  Eukaryotic Cell 
Cell Wall Present  Present 
Cell Membrane Present  Present 
Cytoplasm  Present  Present 
Nucleoid Region Present  Absent
Vacuoles  Present  Present 
Cytoskeleton  Present  Present 
Ribosome  Present  Present 
Flagella, Cilia, Pseudopodia  Present  Absent 
Pili Present  Absent 
Capsule  Present  Absent 
Dna  Present  Present 
Inclusion Bodies  Present  Absent 
Golgi Bodies  Absent  Present 
Endoplasmic Reticulum  Absent  Present 
Nucleus Absent  Present 
Centrosome  Absent  Present 
Lysosomes  Absent  Present 
Mitochondria  Absent  Present 
Vesicle  Absent  Present 
Rna Present  Present