Plants and animals have eukaryotic cells, whereas bacteria and blue-green algae have prokaryotic cells. Unlike eukaryotic cells, prokaryotic cells do not have nuclei; they have simpler structures and lack organelles. Although there are clear differences between eukaryotes and prokaryotes, plant cells and prokaryotic cells do share some basic similarities. Many of the plant cell's properties have evolved from prokaryotic cells.
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Cell Wall and Membrane
Both plant cells and prokaryotic cells have a cell wall, whereas animal cells do not. In fact prokaryotic cells are the ancestors of eukaryotic cells; plant cells inherited the cell wall from prokaryotes. Cell walls form and maintain the shape of the cell and act as a protective barrier. Plant cells normally are rectangularwhereas prokaryotic cells may be spherical, spiral or rod-shaped, depending on the species involved.
Both prokaryotic cells and plant cells, as well as animal cells, contain ribosomes. Ribosomes in prokaryotic cells are smaller than those in the plant cell, but are responsible for similar roles in both cases. They translate genetic messages brought by messenger RNA to produce proteins. Each plant cell ribosome contains four strands of RNA, compared to the three strands in prokaryotic ribosomes.
Although prokaryotic cells do not contain a membrane-bound nucleus, they still contain genetic material. In a plant cell, DNA resides on chromosomes inside the nucleus. In a prokaryotic cell, plasmid DNA is found on the nucleoid, which is located in the central region of the cell.
Certain prokaryotes, such as cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, carry out photosynthesis just like plants. Plant cells have chloroplasts which contain pigments that are responsible for photosynthesis. The University of Winnipeg states that cyanobacteria's photosynthetic cells are similar to chloroplasts. The photosynthetic pigments, chlorophyll a and beta-carotene are both enclosed by the chloroplast and the prokaryotic photosynthetic membrane. Plant chloroplasts also contain chlorophyll b.
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