Biology as Poetry: Cell Biology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Membrane-Bound Organelle

Intracellular "machine" that is encased within a lipid bilayer.

Typically these membrane-bound organelles are associated with eukaryotic cells and also serve as members of the cell's endomembrane system. Exceptions include endosymbiotic organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts. Exceptions also exist where membrane-bound organelles are found in prokaryotic organisms, most notably the thylakoids of cyanobacteria as well as chloroplasts.

The membranes of membrane-bound organelles create a substantial degree of compartmentalization within those cells that possess these organelles. The result is a potential for a substantially larger degree of sophistication associated with most eukaryotic cells in comparison to most prokaryotic cells, which instead typically lack membrane-bound organelles.

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