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NEET Biology Cell : The Unit of Life

Cell : The Unit of Life PDF Notes, Important Questions and Synopsis




  • Kinds of Cells





Absence of well-defined nucleus

Presence of well-defined nucleus with a nuclear membrane




Genetic material

Presence of a single length of only DNA

Presence of several lengths of DNA wound around certain proteins


Presence of smaller ribosomes

Presence of larger ribosomes

  • Components of Eukaryotic Cell



Plasma membrane

  • Very thin, flexible and delicate living semi-permeable membrane
  • Lipid bilayer, integral and peripheral proteins


  • Acts as an effective barrier
  • Regulates the entry of certain solutes and ions

Cell wall (only in plant cells)

  • Freely permeable, mainly composed of cellulose
  • Consists of primary and secondary walls and middle lamella


  • Gives rigidity and shape to plant cells
  • Provides protection


  • Contains a mixture of water and soluble organic and inorganic compounds and various cell organelles


  •  Seat of occurrence of glycolysis (production of pyruvic acid)

Endoplasmic reticulum

  • May be smooth (SER) or rough (RER)


  • Acts as a supportive framework of the cell
  • RER involved in protein synthesis and secretion
  • SER involved in synthesis of glycogen, cholesterol, fat and oil


  • Double-walled, inner wall thrown into folds called cristae
  • Known as powerhouses of the cell


  • Seat of aerobic respiration
  • Synthesise respiratory enzymes and energy-rich compounds

Golgi apparatus (in animal cells)

Dictyosomes (in plant cells)

  • Consists of a set of membrane-bound, fluid-filled vesicles and vacuoles

  • Synthesis of plasma membrane, cell wall
  • Synthesis and secretion of enzymes and hormones


  • Single-walled, dense, spherical bodies composed mainly of RNA and proteins
  • Known as protein factories of the cell


  •  Synthesis of proteins


  • Membrane-bound vesicles containing 40 different types of hydrolytic enzymes

  •  Intracellular digestion


  • Contains one or two centrioles which are surrounded by radiating microtubules to form an aster shape

  •  Initiates and regulates cell division


  • Double membrane, proteinaceous matrix containing DNA and disc-like structures called thylakoids containing chlorophyll

  • Chromoplasts: Impart colour to flowers and fruits
  • Chloroplasts: Trap solar energy for photosynthesis
  • Leucoplasts: Store starch


  • Mostly spherical and dense, surrounded by nuclear membrane with pores

  • Nuclear matrix contains nucleolus and chromatin

  • Nucleoli are spherical structures, one or more in number

  • Chromatin fibres are a network of thread-like structures made of DNA

  • Regulates cell cycle and cell functions
  • Nucleolus participates in protein synthesis by forming and storing RNA
  • Chromosomes carry hereditary information or genes


  • Non-living, membrane-bound structures


  • Storage of water and other substances, food, pigments and waste products


  • Small particles, crystals or droplets

  • Starch (in plant cells), glycogen (in animal cells) and fat-containing granules serve as food for the cell


  • Filamentous proteinaceous structures present in the cytoplasm

  • Mechanical support, motility and maintenance of shape of the cell

Cilia and Flagella

  • Hair-like outgrowths of the cell membrane

  •  Work like oars causing movement


  • Membrane-bound minute vesicles

  •  Contain various enzymes