Eukaryotic Cells

Free Response

You already know that ribosomes are abundant in red blood cells. In what other cells of the body would you find them in great abundance? Why?


Ribosomes are abundant in muscle cells as well because muscle cells are constructed of the proteins made by the ribosomes.

What are the structural and functional similarities and differences between mitochondria and chloroplasts?


Both are similar in that they are enveloped in a double membrane, both have an intermembrane space, and both make ATP. Both mitochondria and chloroplasts have DNA, and mitochondria have inner folds called cristae and a matrix, while chloroplasts have chlorophyll and accessory pigments in the thylakoids that form stacks (grana) and a stroma.

Why are plasma membranes arranged as a bilayer rather than a monolayer?


The plasma membrane is a bilayer because the phospholipids that create it are amphiphilic (hydrophilic head, hydrophobic tail). If the plasma membrane was a monolayer, the hydrophobic tails of the phospholipids would be in direct contact with the inside of the cell. Since the cytoplasm is largely made of water, this interaction would not be stable, and would disrupt the plasma membrane of the cell as the tails were repulsed by the cytoplasm (in water, phospholipids spontaneously form spherical droplets with the hydrophilic heads facing outward to isolate the hydrophobic tails from the water). By having a bilayer, the hydrophilic heads are exposed to the aqueous cytoplasm and extracellular space, while the hydrophobic tails interact with each other in the middle of the membrane.