A tour of the cell
A tour of the cell

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Summary of Section 3

  • Prokaryotes do not have a nucleus or other internal membrane-bound organelles and their cytoplasm appears relatively homogeneous under the light microscope; their DNA appears pale, because the rest of the cell is densely packed with ribosomes, which are far more electron-dense and so appear dark.
  • Most bacteria have a cell wall that lies outside the cell membrane. The cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria is composed of a thick layer of peptidoglycan, while Gram-negative bacteria have a thinner layer of peptidoglycan within the periplasmic space between the inner and outer cell membranes.
  • Some bacteria possess membrane specialisations (relatively common examples are flagella and pili) and a few exhibit complex folding of the cell membrane.

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