Because the eukaryotic clades encompassing protista, plants and fungi are not topics of focus for the new MCAT (Plants were not on the old MCAT as well), the model eukaryotic cell for our purposes is an animal cell. Comparison and contrast of animal cells with prokaryotic cells is a good starting point in review. The typical animal cell is one or two orders of magnitude larger than prokaryotic cells. Additionally, while a prokaryotic cell has no nucleus, a typical animal cell possesses a true nucleus, containing the genetic material and enclosed by the nuclear envelope. In fact, the defining feature that sets eukaryotic cells apart from prokaryotic cells is that eukaryotic cells have membrane-bound organelles. Other membrane bound organelles in animal cells include lysosomes, Golgi complex, endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria. Additionally, bacterial flagella are different from eukaryotic flagella. Bacterial flagella are helical filaments, each with a rotary motor at its base. Eukaryotic flagella are completely different structurally, consisting of multiple microtubules. Eukaryotic flagella lash back and forth. Another difference is that sterols and carbohydrates are generally present in the animal cell membrane, though they are absent in prokaryotic membranes. Furthermore, prokaryotic chromosomes lack histones. The mode of cell division is also different. Prokaryotes reproduce by binary fission while eukaryotic cells divide by the process of mitosis.
The Eukaryotic Cell Images
Conceptual Vocabulary Self-Test
Basic Terms Crossword Puzzle
Basic Puzzle Solution
Conceptual Vocabulary for The Eukaryotic Cell