Cellular compartment

Cellular compartment

Cellular compartments in cell biology comprise all closed parts within a cell, usually surrounded by a single or double lipid layer membrane. Most organelles are compartments like mitochondria, chloroplasts (in photosynthetic organisms), peroxisomes, lysosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum, the cell nucleus or the Golgi apparatus. Smaller elements like vesicles, and sometimes even microtubules can also be counted as compartments. Only found in eukaryotic cells.


In general there are 4 main cellular compartments, they are:

  1. The nuclear compartment comprising the nucleus
  2. The intercisternal space which comprises the space between the membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum (which is continuous with the nuclear envelope)
  3. Organelles
  4. The cytosol


Within the membrane-bound compartments, different intracellular pH, different enzyme systems, and other differences are isolated. This enables the cell to carry out different metabolic activities at the same time. With mitochondria, the cytosol has an oxidising environment which converts NADH to NAD+. With these cases, the compartmentation is physical. For protein synthesis, all the organs used for it are relatively near one another, the nucleolus makes the ribosomes which synthesize the proteins, the rough endoplasmic reticulum (rough ER) is near the nucleus as well. The Golgi body is also near the rough ER for packaging and redistributing.

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