Components of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells and Functions

Cell Component Function Present in Prokaryotes Present in Animal Cells Present in Plant Cells
Plasma Membrane Separates cell from external environment;

controls passage of organic molecules, ions, water, oxygen, and wastes into and out of the cell

Yes Yes Yes
Cytoplasm Provides structure to cell; site of many metabolic reactions; medium in which

organelles are found

Yes Yes Yes
Nucleoid Location of DNA Yes No No
Nucleus Cell organelle that houses DNA and directs synthesis of ribosomes and proteins No Yes Yes
Ribosomes Protein synthesis Yes Yes Yes
Mitochondria ATP production/cellular respiration No Yes Yes


Oxidizes and breaks down fatty acids and

amino acids, and detoxifies poisons

No Yes Yes
Vesicles and



Storage and transport; digestive function in

plant cells

No Yes Yes



Unspecified role in cell division in animal

cells; organizing center of microtubules in

animal cells

No Yes No


Digestion of macromolecules; recycling of worn-out organelles No Yes No
Cell wall



Protection, structural support and

maintenance of cell shape

Yes, primarily

peptidoglycan in bacteria but not Archaea

No Yes, primarily


Chloroplasts Photosynthesis No No Yes


Modifies proteins and synthesizes lipids No Yes Yes
Golgi apparatus


Modifies, sorts, tags, packages, and

distributes lipids and proteins

No Yes Yes


Maintains cell’s shape, secures organelles in

specific positions, allows cytoplasm and

vesicles to move within the cell, and enables

unicellular organisms to move independently

Yes Yes Yes


Cellular locomotion Some Some No, except for some plant sperm.


Cellular locomotion, movement of particles

along extracellular surface of plasma

membrane, and filtration

No Some No


Unless otherwise noted, images on this page are licensed under CC-BY 4.0 by OpenStax.

Text adapted from: OpenStax, Concepts of Biology. OpenStax CNX. May 18, 2016 http://cnx.org/contents/b3c1e1d2-839c-42b0-a314-e119a8aafbdd@9.10


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MHCC Biology 112: Biology for Health Professions Copyright © 2019 by Lisa Bartee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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