MadSci Network: Cell Biology

Re: Do Prokaryote cells create new cells like eukaryote cells do?

Date: Mon Nov 13 16:06:24 2006
Posted By: Nathan McNulty, Grad student, Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Washington University School of Medicine
Area of science: Cell Biology
ID: 1161991956.Cb

Hello Maria,

Sorry it has taken so long to get back you.  My apologies for your wait.

The answer to your question is yes, prokaryotic cells (for example,
bacterial cells) do create new cells through cell division in a process
referred to as binary fission.  This form of cell division is in many ways
similar to the mitosis that takes place in eukaryotic cells.  However,
there are significant differences between the two also.  As you probably
know, prokaryotic cells are actually much simpler than eukaryotic cells, so
if you already understand eukaryotic cell division, you're way ahead of the
game already.

As you stated, prokaryotes don't have a nucleus, so the process of
chromosomal replication and segregation is much simpler.  Unlike
eukaryotes, which have numerous chromosomes, all of the DNA for a
prokaryote is contained within a single, circular chromosome.  Prior to
cell division, this prokaryotic chromosome is replicated to form two
circular copies.  Each copy attaches to the inside face of the plasma
membrane at a different end of the cell.  A process known as cytokinesis
follows in which the two ends of the cell are physically separated and
eventually form two new cells, each containing one of the chromosome
copies.  You can think of cytokinesis as the cell pinching in two.  The
fact that prokaryotes don't have organelles means that the cell doesn't
have to worry about splitting them up evenly among the two daughter cells,
as is required in eukaryotes.

I hope this helped answer your question.  If you'd like to read about
prokaryotic cell divison further, I've included a reference below.  I've
also attached a figure illustrating what prokaryotic cell division looks like.


-Nathan McNulty
Washington University

Molecular Cell Biology, 4th Edition.  Lodish, Berk, Zipursky, Matsudaira,
Baltimore, Darnell.  Chapter 12: DNA Replication, Repair and Recombination.

Current Queue | Current Queue for Cell Biology | Cell Biology archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Cell Biology.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2006. All rights reserved.