AAT Bioquest

How is the prokaryotic cell structure different from that of the eukaryotic cell?

Posted December 10, 2022


There are several major differences between the structures of the prokaryotic cell from that of the eukaryotic cell. 

Basis of differentiation Prokaryotic cell structureEukaryotic cell structure
Cell type UnicellularMostly multicellular with the exception of yeasts and algae which are unicellular
SizeSmaller - size range from 0.1 μm - 5 μmLarger – size ranges from 10 μm -100 μm
Cell wallUsually present, chemically complex in nature and forms the outermost layer of the cellOnly present in plant cells as the outermost layer, is chemically simple in nature – absent in animal cells
CapsuleAn outer protective covering found only in the bacterial cells, in addition to the cell wallAbsent
Cell membraneSurrounds the cytoplasm and regulates the entry and exit of substances in the cellsSurrounds the cytoplasm, separating the cell from the outside environment and aiding in the exchange of substances in and out of the cell.
RibosomesSmaller in size and spherical in shapeComparatively larger in size and linear in shape
NucleusAbsent – has a nucleoid instead, which is simply a central region of the cell that contains its DNAHas a true, membrane-bound nucleus
DNA formSingle DNA in circular arrangementDNA in linear arrangement
Endoplasmic ReticulumAbsentPresent
PlasmidsPresentVery rarely found
Lysosomes and centrosomesAbsent Present
CytoplasmPresent, but cell organelles absentPresent, cell organelles present
FlagellaSmaller in sizeLarger in size
Additional resources

Eukaryotic vs. prokaryotic chemosensory systems

MycoLight™ Green JJ98

Cell Navigator® Live Cell Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) Staining Kit *Blue Fluorescence*