Every life organism falls into one of two groups: eukaryotes or prokaryotes. Cellular structure determines which team an organism belongs to. In this article, we will describe in detail what prokaryotes and eukaryotes are and outline the differences in between the two.

Prokaryote definition

Prokaryotes are unicellular organisms that lack membrane-bound structures, the many noteworthy of which is the nucleus. Prokaryotic cells have tendency to it is in small, simple cells, measuring about 0.1-5 μm in diameter.


While prokaryotes cells perform not have membrane-bound structures, they execute have distinct cellular regions. In prokaryotic cells, DNA bundles together in a an ar called the nucleoid.

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Prokaryotic cell features

Here is a failure of what you could find in a prokaryotic bacterial cell.

A main region that the cabinet that includes its DNA. Ribosome: Ribosomes space responsible because that protein synthesis. Cell wall: The cell wall provides structure and also protection native the outside environment. Many bacteria have actually a strict cell wall surface made from carbohydrates and proteins called peptidoglycans. Cell membrane: Every prokaryote has actually a cell membrane, likewise known as the plasma membrane, the separates the cell from the external environment. Capsule: some bacteria have actually a class of carbohydrates the surrounds the cell wall called the capsule. The capsule help the bacterium connect to surfaces. Fimbriae: Fimbriae room thin, hair-like structures that help with to move attachment. Pili: Pili space rod-shaped structures affiliated in multiple roles, including attachment and DNA transfer. Flagella: Flagella space thin, tail-like frameworks that aid in movement.

Examples the prokaryotes

Bacteria and also archaea room the two varieties of prokaryotes.

Do prokaryotes have actually mitochondria?

No, prokaryotes carry out not have mitochondria. Mitochondria room only discovered in eukaryotic bio cells. This is also true of various other membrane-bound structures favor the nucleus and also the Golgi device (more on this later).One concept for eukaryotic evolution hypothesizes that mitochondria were an initial prokaryotic cell that lived inside various other cells. Over time, development led to these separate organisms functioning together a single organism in the kind of a eukaryote.

Eukaryote definition

Eukaryotes room organisms who cells have actually a nucleus and other organelles enclosed by a plasma membrane. Organelles are inner structures responsible because that a range of functions, such as energy production and also protein synthesis.


The key structures present in a eukaryotic bio cell.

Eukaryotic cells are large (around 10-100 μm) and also complex. While many eukaryotes are multicellular organisms, there room some single-cell eukaryotes.

Eukaryotic cabinet features

Within a eukaryotic cell, every membrane-bound structure carries out details cellular functions. Below is an introduction of many of the primary contents of eukaryotic bio cells.

The nucleus stores the genetic information in chromatin form. Nucleolus: discovered inside of the nucleus, the nucleolus is the component of eukaryotic bio cells where ribosomal RNA is produced.Plasma membrane: The plasma membrane is a phospholipid bilayer that surrounds the whole cell and encompasses the organelles within.Cytoskeleton or cabinet wall: The cytoskeleton or cell wall surface provides structure, enables for cabinet movement, and also plays a role in cell division. Ribosomes: Ribosomes space responsible for protein synthesis. Mitochondria: Mitochondria, also known together the house house of the cell, space responsible for power production.Cytoplasm: The cytoplasm is the an ar of the cell between the nuclear envelope and also plasma membrane. Cytosol: Cytosol is a gel-like substance within the cell that contains the organelles. Endoplasmic reticulum: The endoplasmic reticulum is one organelle dedicated to protein maturation and also transportation. Vesicles and also vacuoles: Vesicles and also vacuoles are membrane-bound sacs connected in transportation and storage.

Other common organelles discovered in many, however not all, eukaryotes include the Golgi apparatus, chloroplasts and also lysosomes.

Examples that eukaryotes

Animals, plants, fungi, algae and also protozoans are all eukaryotes.

Comparing prokaryotes and also eukaryotes

All life on Earth consists of either eukaryotic cells or prokaryotic cells. Prokaryotes to be the very first form of life. Scientists believe that eukaryotes evolved from prokaryotes roughly 2.7 billion years ago.The primary difference between these two varieties of organisms is that eukaryotic cells have actually a membrane-bound nucleus and prokaryotic cells do not. The cell nucleus is where eukaryotes save their genetic information. In prokaryotes, DNA is bundled with each other in the nucleoid region, yet it is no stored in ~ a membrane-bound nucleus.The cell core is only one of numerous membrane-bound organelles in eukaryotes. Prokaryotes, top top the various other hand, have actually no membrane-bound organelles. Another important distinction is the DNA structure. Eukaryote DNA consists of multiple molecule of double-stranded linear DNA, while the of prokaryotes is double-stranded and also circular.

Key similarities in between prokaryotes and eukaryotes


A comparison mirroring the shared and unique attributes of prokaryotes and also eukaryotes

All cells, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, re-publishing these four features:

1. DNA

2. Plasma membrane

3. Cytoplasm

4. Ribosomes

Transcription and also translation in prokaryotes vs eukaryotes

In prokaryotes cells, transcription and translation are coupled, an interpretation translation starts during mRNA synthesis.In eukaryotic cells, transcription and also translation space not coupled. Transcription occurs in the nucleus, creating mRNA. The mRNA climate exits the nucleus, and also translation occurs in the cell’s cytoplasm.

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What are the crucial differences in between prokaryotes and eukaryotes?

Prokaryotes and also eukaryotes vary in several crucial ways - these differences include structural variation - whether a cell core is present or absent, and also whether the cell has membrane-bound organelles, and molecular variation, consisting of whether the DNA is in a circular or straight form. The differences are summarized in the table below.
Membrane-bound organellesAbsentPresent
Cell structureUnicellularMostly multicellular; part unicellular
Cell sizeSmaller (0.1-5 μm)Larger (10-100 μm)
ComplexitySimplerMore complex
DNA FormCircularLinear
ExamplesBacteria, archaeaAnimals, plants, fungi, protists