Open In App
Related Articles

Eukaryotic Cells

Improve Article
Save Article
Like Article

Eukaryotic cells include all the protists, plants, animals, and fungi. It forms the domain Eukaryota and possesses an organized nucleus with a nuclear envelope. Their genetic material is organized into chromosomes. Eukaryotes contain membrane-bound organelles like Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum cytoskeleton, etc. They have a variety of complex locomotor and cytoskeletal structures and can reproduce both asexually through mitosis and sexually through meiosis and gamete fusion (fertilization).

Eukaryotic Cell Definition

A eukaryotic cell have a well defined nucleus enclosed in a membrane, characterized by complex internal structures like mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, etc.

What is a Eukaryotic Cell?

Eukaryotes are organisms whose cells contain a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles. They lack a true nucleus and membrane-bound organelles. The nucleus with DNA in eukaryotic cells distinguishes them from prokaryotic cells. They have complex internal structures, like membrane-bound organelles, such as nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, etc. Each of these organelles performs specific functions and different metabolic reactions within a cell.

This is the reason eukaryotic cells are more complex and larger than prokaryotic cells. Eukaryotes form a small minority of the number of organisms, but because of their much larger size, their collective global biomass is much larger than that of prokaryotes.

Also Read: Cell Organelles

Characteristics of Eukaryotic Cells

The characteristics of eukaryotic cells are as follows:

  • Eukaryotic cells have the nucleus enclosed within the nuclear membrane.
  • Eukaryotic cells are much larger than those of prokaryotes—the bacteria and the archaea
  • Eukaryotic cells also contain organelles, including mitochondria, a Golgi apparatus, an endoplasmic reticulum, and lysosomes. 
  • Flagella and cilia are the locomotory organs in a eukaryotic cell.
  • Eukaryotic cells consist of cytoskeleton which is made up of protein filaments. It provides structural support and allows intracellular transport.
  • The cell membrane surrounds the cell, and regulates the exchange of molecules between the cell and its environment.
  • Inside the nucleus, the nucleolus is present with a ribosome that produces protein.
  • For cell division and the formation of the mitotic spindle centriole is present.

Diagram of the Eukaryotic Cell

The diagram of the eukaryotic cell depicting the various organelles present in it is shown below:

Structure of Eukaryotic Cell

The structure of the eukaryotic cell is as follows:

  • Nucleus: The nucleoplasm enclosed within the nucleus contains DNA and proteins. The nucleus is the control center present in the middle of the cell and contains the DNA. It is enclosed within a double membrane called the nuclear envelope, which has pores for the exchange of molecules.
  • Plasma Membrane: It surrounds the cell and is composed of a lipid bilayer embedded with proteins. It controls the movement of substances in and out of the cell.
  • Cytoplasm: The cytoplasm is the semi-fluid substance that fills the cell’s interior, where many cellular processes take place.
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER): The ER is a network of membranous sheets and tubular structures involved in protein and lipid synthesis. These are of two types: rough ER, which has ribosomes on its surface for protein synthesis, and smooth ER, which lacks ribosomes and takes part in lipid metabolism.
  • Golgi Apparatus: Golgi Apparatus is made up of flat disc-shaped structures called cisternae. It processes, modifies and packages the proteins and lipids that are synthesized in the ER for transport within or outside the cell.
  • Mitochondria: Mitochondria known as powerhouses of the cell. It produces energy in the form of ATP, through cellular respiration.
  • Lysosomes: They are known as “suicidal bags”. Lysosomes are responsible for cellular recycling and waste disposal and contain enzymes that break down cellular debris, waste materials, and macromolecules.
  • Peroxisomes: Peroxisomes take part in the lipid metabolism and detoxification reactions that take place within the cell.
  • Cytoskeleton: The cytoskeleton provides structural support to the cell. It is made up of network of protein filaments and help in maintaining cell shape, and allows intracellular transport.
  • Centrioles: It is present in animal cells only and takes part in cell division. It form the mitotic spindle during mitosis.
  • Nuclear Pores: Nuclear pores are small openings present on the nuclear envelope and allow for the selective exchange of molecules between the nucleus and cytoplasm.

Functions of Eukaryotic Cell

Eukaryotic cells are specialized cells that perform a wide range of functions, that is important for the overall functioning of multicellular organisms. The various functions of eukaryotic cells are as follows:

  • The nucleus contains, controls and protects the cell’s genetic material (DNA).
  • Ribosomes synthesize proteins based on the genetic code stored in DNA.
  • Mitochondria generate energy (ATP) through cellular respiration, while chloroplasts (in plant cells) produce energy through photosynthesis.
  • The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) plays a role in the synthesis of lipids and proteins.
  • The Golgi apparatus processes, modifies, and packages proteins and lipids for transport.
  • Lysosomes contain enzymes that break down cellular waste and recycle materials.
  • Peroxisomes are involved in detoxifying harmful substances in the cell.
  • The cytoskeleton provides structural support, helps maintain cell shape, and facilitates intracellular transport.
  • Centrioles (in animal cells) organizes the spindle fibers during cell division (mitosis).
  • Vacuoles (in plant cells) store water, nutrients, and other substances, while other organelles can serve as storage compartments for various molecules.

Examples of Eukaryotic Cells

Eukaryotic cells are found in animals, plants, protozoa, fungi and other complex organisms. The examples of eukaryotic cells is as follows:

Animal Cells

  • Found in all animals, including humans.
  • Typical eukaryotic cell structure with a nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, and more.

Plant Cells

Fungal Cells

  • Found in fungi, including yeasts and molds.
  • Possess a cell wall made of chitin and often have a unique structure called a hypha.

Protist Cells

  • Found in protists, which are a diverse group of eukaryotes that don’t fit into other categories.
  • Examples include amoebas, paramecia, and algae.

Algal Cells

  • Found in various types of algae, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms.
  • Algae can be green, brown, and red algae.

Protozoan Cells

  • Found in protozoa,a single-celled eukaryotic organisms.
  • Examples include Plasmodium (causative agent of malaria) and Trypanosoma (causative agent of African sleeping sickness).

Differences Between Eukaryotic Cells and Prokaryotic cells

The difference between eukaryotic nad prokaryotic cell are given below:


Prokaryotic cells

Eukaryotic Cells

Genetic Material

Nucleus with linear DNA

Nucleoid region with circular DNA

Membrane-bound Organelles

Present (e.g., mitochondria, ER, Golgi)

Lack membrane bound organelles


Generally larger (10-100 micrometers)

Generally smaller (1-10 micrometers)

Cell Wall

Present in some (e.g., plants, fungi)

Present in most (e.g., bacteria)


80S ribosomes in cytoplasm and organelles

70S ribosomes in cytoplasm


Mitosis or meiosis

Binary fission

Example of Organisms

Animals, plants, fungi, protists

Bacteria and archaea


Membrane-bound with nucleolus



Complex structure (9+2 microtubules)

Simpler (e.g., flagellin)

FAQs on Eukaryotic Cell

1. What is a Eukaryotic Cell?

A eukaryotic cell is characterized by a membrane-bound nucleus and organelles. Eukaryotic cells are found in organisms within the domains of Eukaryota, including animals, plants, fungi, and protists.

2. What is the Most Important Characteristic of Eukaryotic Cells that Distinguishes it from Prokaryotic Cells?

Eukaryotic cells possesses a true nucleus enclosed in nuclear envelope, while prokaryotic cells lack a nucleus. Eukaryotic cells contains membrane-bound organelles, which prokaryotic cells lack and eukaryotic cells are generally larger and more complex.

3. What are Some Examples of Eukaryotic Cells?

Examples of eukaryotic cells are plant cells, animal cells, protist and fungal cells. These cells form the body structure of complex multicellular organisms.

4. What are Membrane-Bound Organelles in Eukaryotic Cells?

Membrane-bound organelles include endoplasmic reticulum takes part in protein and lipid synthesis, the mitochondria for energy production, and Golgi apparatus perform protein modification and packaging, etc.

5. What is the Function of the Nucleus in a Eukaryotic Cell?

The nucleus is the control center of the cell. It contains the cell’s genetic material (DNA) and regulates gene expression and coordinates cellular activities and reproduction.

Whether you're preparing for your first job interview or aiming to upskill in this ever-evolving tech landscape, GeeksforGeeks Courses are your key to success. We provide top-quality content at affordable prices, all geared towards accelerating your growth in a time-bound manner. Join the millions we've already empowered, and we're here to do the same for you. Don't miss out - check it out now!

Last Updated : 08 Nov, 2023
Like Article
Save Article
Similar Reads
Complete Tutorials