Introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology (BIOL121) - Dr. S.G. Saupe (; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321

Study Guide for Cells

Goal:  The goal of this unit is to understand the structure and function of a cell.

Learning Objectives:  Upon completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  1. describe the structure and function of the major organelles in plants, animals and prokaryotes

  2. Describe difference between prokaryotes and eukaryotes

  3. Explain why cells are small

  4. Describe the difference between plant and animals cells

Terms/ConceptsCan you use these in a sentence?  Or, prepare a concept map with them?

  • actin

  • amyloplasts (leucoplast)

  • basal body

  • cell wall

  • centrioles

  • chloroplasts

  • chromatin

  • chromoplasts

  • cilia

  • cristae

  • cytoplasm

  • cytoplasmic streaming

  • cytoskeleton

  • cytosol

  • endomembrane system

  • eukaryote

  • flagella

  • golgi body

  • grana

  • intermediate filaments

  • lysosomes

  • matrix

  • microbodies

  • microfilaments

  • microtubules

  • mitochondria

  • myosin

  • nuclear envelope

  • nuclear pore

  • nucleoid

  • nucleolus

  • nucleoplasm

  • nucleus

  • organelle

  • peroxisomes

  • plastids

  • prokaryote

  • ribosome

  • stroma

  • tubulin

  • vesicle


  1. For each of the organelles, describe its structure and function

  2. Compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells

  3. Compare and contrast plant and animal cells

  4. Calculate the surface area, volume, and surface-to-volume ratio of a cube that is 4 units on a side.

  5. Explain why cells are small.

  6. Explain why cats can survive a fall from the campus bell banner but horses or humans could not.

  7. Can you explain several examples of S/V ratios (Goldilocks and porridge, ice, shape of desert plants)

  8. What is catalase?  Where is it found in cells?

Compare Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Organisms: Complete the following table comparing prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

  Prokaryotic Eukaryotic 
Example (name some organism)    
Kingdom(s) with these type of cells    
Cell size  (less than 10 um; greater than 10 um)    
Organelles (present/absent)    
ribosomes (yes/no)    
nucleus (yes/no)    
organization of DNA (circular, linear)    
Cell organization (uni vs. multicellular)    
plastids (yes/no)    
photosynthesis (yes/no)    
mitochondria (yes/ no)    
respiration (yes/no)    
9 + 2 microtubules (yes/no)    
first to evolve    


Compare Plants, Animals and Prokaryotes.   Using a (+) or other symbol, indicate which of the cell structures occurs in each group. 

  prokaryote plant cell animal cell
cell wall      
central vacuole      
phospholipid bilayer      
nuclear envelope      

Complete these statements:

  1. A virus is not a cell because...  

  2. A cell structure that can be seen with the electron microscope but not the light microscope is... 

  3. The difference between between lysosomes and peroxisomes is....

Relationship Question:
    For each of the following pairs, indicate if the first is part of the second (A), or the second is part of the first (B), or they have no particular relationship to each other (N):

____ mitochondria, cristae    
____ golgi complex, nucleus  
____ nucleolus, nucleus

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Last updated: July 14, 2009     � Copyright by SG Saupe