Gram Stain of Prokaryote Bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis

Prokaryotic Cell
Parts, Functions & Diagrams of Prokaryotes


Single-celled prokaryotes are microbes that include bacteria and their bacteria-like cousins Archaea. Prokaryotic cells are much simpler than the more evolutionarily advanced 
eukaryotic cell

Whereas eukaryotic cells have many different functional compartments, divided by membranes, prokaryotes only have one membrane (the plasma membrane) enclosing all of the cell’s internal contents. 

If a eukaryotic cell is analogous to a big house with many different rooms, a prokaryotic cell is like a one-room, studio apartment.

Article Summary: Prokaryotes are simple, single-celled, yet remarkably successful organisms. Here's an overview of the structures and functions of prokaryotic cells.
Prokaryotic Cell Structures, Functions & Diagrams
Virtual Microbiology

Science Prof Online FREE online course material!

Microbiology Lite
 materials from an 
8-week college 
micro course

 General Microbiology
materials from a 
15-week college 
micro course

PowerPoint Lectures * Study Guides * Review Questions * 
Test Questions

Prokaryotic Cell, Mariana Ruiz
Internal Structures of Prokaryotic Cells
  • Plasma Membrane: The cell membrane is a double-layer of phospholipids with associated proteins and other molecules. It is essentially the “bag” that holds all of the intracellular material and regulates the movement of materials into and out of the cell.

  • Cytoplasm: This is the gel-like fluid that the cell is filled with, inside the plasma membrane; liquid with all of the cellular organelles suspended within.

Labeled Illustration of Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Biological Cells
Continued ... 
External Cell Structures
Go to PAGE 2 >
​Page last updated: 10/2017
Instructor's Corner
This article has 
3 pages: 
1  . 2 .  3

FREE Printable 
Prokaryotic Cell Diagram
to help you remember prokaryotes parts and pieces.
Labeled Drawing of Prokaryotic Cell
  • Cytoskeleton: It's a relatively recent scientific discovery that rod-shaped bacteria and Archaea possess cytoskeletal proteins that function similarly to the cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells. This scaffolding provides structural support to the cell and plays a role in cell division.

  • Ribosomes: All cells, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic, have multiple ribosomes within. Ribosomes are the tiny protein-making machines that carry out the genetic instructions of the cell.
See all related teaching materials on the 

Prokaryotic Cell Structure & Function Lecture Main Page

Prokaryotic Cell Structure & Function Lecture Main Page