Cellular compartments in cell biology comprise all of the closed parts within the cytosol of a eukaryotic cell, usually surrounded by a single or double lipid layer membrane. Most organelles are compartments: mitochondria, chloroplasts (in photosynthetic organisms), peroxisomes, lysosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum, the cell nucleus or the Golgi apparatus. Smaller elements like vesicles, and sometimes even microtubules can also be counted as compartments.
It was thought that compartmentalization is not found in prokaryotic cells., but the discovery of carboxysomes and many other metabolosomes revealed that prokaryotic cells are capable of making compartmentalized organelle.
In general there are 4 main cellular compartments, they are:
- The nuclear compartment comprising the nucleus
- The intercisternal space which comprises the space between the membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum (which is continuous with the nuclear envelope)
- The cytosol
Within the membrane-bound compartments, different intracellular pH, different enzyme systems, and other differences are isolated. This enables the cell to carry out different metabolic activities at the same time. With mitochondria, the cytosol has an oxidising environment which converts NADH to NAD+. With these cases, the compartmentation is physical. For protein synthesis, all the organs used for it are relatively near one another, the nucleolus makes the ribosomes which synthesize the proteins, the rough endoplasmic reticulum (rough ER) is near the nucleus as well. The Golgi body is also near the rough ER for packaging and redistributing. The functional component to an eukaryiotic cell is the organelles.
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