Ch 18: Prokaryotic Cells

About This Chapter

Use the video lessons in this chapter to learn what you should know about biology and prokaryotic cells. Prep for the MCAT by taking the self-assessment quizzes to apply what you learn.

MCAT Biological Science - Biology: Prokaryotic Cells - Chapter Summary

The Biological Sciences section of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) includes questions about prokaryotic cells. The lessons in this chapter will provide an in-depth review of the subject. The following topics are among those addressed in this chapter:

  • Evolution of prokaryotes
  • Basics of bacteria, structure and function
  • Bacterial cell morphology and classification
  • Bacterial cytoplasm and cell membrane
  • Bacterial cell walls
  • Bacterial endospores and plasmids
  • The bacterial genome
  • Bacterial conjugation, transformation and transduction
  • Aerobic and anaerobic bacterial metabolism
  • Bacterial fermentation
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Each lesson is structured to clarify key biology concepts and test-taking skills useful for answering the types of questions you'll see on the exam. The engaging instruction format helps to simplify concepts.

MCAT Biological Science - Biology: Prokaryotic Cells Objectives

The MCAT is an assessment of scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills. The test is presented in a multiple-choice format, and scores from the exam are required if you're applying for admission to a program in health professions. The Biological Sciences category of the exam has 52 questions that focus on your ability to analyze information from reading passages. Problem-solving skills and knowledge of research processes are also tested. You can achieve the following biology content knowledge learning objectives with the lessons in this chapter:

  • Learn the definitions and characteristics of bacteria and bacterial structures
  • Understand the structure and function of bacterial cell walls
  • Know the processes of bacterial conjugation, transformation, and transduction, and aerobic and anaerobic bacterial metabolism
  • Identify the structure, organization and components of the bacterial genome and bacterial cytoplasm
  • Explain the process and products of bacterial fermentation
  • Understand the growth requirements of E. coli and its role as a model organism

While advanced study in math and science isn't required for the MCAT, you do need a strong base of knowledge in the subjects. Biology and organic chemistry fundamentals will be of particular use on the Biological Sciences section.

17 Lessons in Chapter 18: Prokaryotic Cells
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Evolution of Prokaryotes: Archaebacteria and Eubacteria

1. The Evolution of Prokaryotes: Archaebacteria and Eubacteria

The first living organisms on Earth were bacteria. These small organisms still exist today and are responsible for many things. In this lesson, we will explore both ancient bacteria and true bacteria.

What is Bacteria? - Definition, Characteristics & Examples

2. What is Bacteria? - Definition, Characteristics & Examples

This lesson will introduce the Bacteria, a large and diverse group of microorganisms. We will examine several key characteristics, as well as a few commonly known examples of bacterial species.

Bacterial Cell Morphology and Classification: Definition, Shapes & Arrangements

3. Bacterial Cell Morphology and Classification: Definition, Shapes & Arrangements

Do all bacteria look the same? Definitely not! These tiny, singled-celled organisms come in a variety of morphologies, from cocci to spirals to tetrads. Many bacterial names even have clues to their morphology!

Bacterial Cytoplasm & Cell Membrane: Structure & Components

4. Bacterial Cytoplasm & Cell Membrane: Structure & Components

Some people say a bacterial cell is just a simple bag of enzymes. This couldn't be further from the truth! Learn about the structure and function of the bacterial cell membrane, what's in the cytoplasm, and how membrane surface area impacts bacterial size.

Bacterial Cell Walls: Structure, Function & Types

5. Bacterial Cell Walls: Structure, Function & Types

The bacterial cell wall has to be strong to prevent cell lysis but also porous to allow transport across the cell membrane. In this lesson, we will examine the structure of the bacterial cell wall and how it accomplishes both of these crucial tasks.

Bacterial Structures and Their Functions

6. Bacterial Structures and Their Functions

A bacterial cell is not smooth like a balloon. Bacteria can be covered with a wide range of structures like pili and capsules that give each species of bacteria different abilities. In this lesson, you will learn about several of these key external structures of bacteria.

Bacterial Endospores: Definition & Formation

7. Bacterial Endospores: Definition & Formation

Some bacteria have the ability to enter a state of suspended animation when conditions are unfavorable. In this lesson, we will examine the bacterial endospore and learn how and why bacteria produce these structures.

The Bacterial Genome: Structure & Organization

8. The Bacterial Genome: Structure & Organization

All organisms have DNA. While the basic structure of DNA is the same, the organization of the DNA in bacterial cells is very different than in human or animal cells. In this lesson we will explore the basics of the bacterial genome.

Bacterial Plasmids: Definition, Function & Uses

9. Bacterial Plasmids: Definition, Function & Uses

What if you could pick up bits of DNA and change your traits? In the animal kingdom, organisms are born with their lifetime total of DNA. In the bacterial world, cells can add to their genome by acquiring plasmids.

Bacterial Conjugation: Definition & Protocol

10. Bacterial Conjugation: Definition & Protocol

You probably didn't know that bacteria can engage in sexual reproduction. It is not what you think. In this lesson we will explore the process of bacterial conjugation and its impact on genetic variability in bacteria.

Bacterial Transformation: Definition, Process & Applications

11. Bacterial Transformation: Definition, Process & Applications

DNA is all around you. So are bacteria. Did you know that those bacteria can pick up and use that DNA? In this lesson we will examine the process of transformation and how bacteria are able to make use of environmental DNA.

Bacterial Transduction: Definition, Process & Advantages

12. Bacterial Transduction: Definition, Process & Advantages

Genetic diversity allows organisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions. In this lesson, we will explore bacterial transduction and how it allows bacteria to transfer genes and increase genetic diversity.

Aerobic Bacterial Metabolism: Definition & Process

13. Aerobic Bacterial Metabolism: Definition & Process

Respiration is the process of converting nutrients into usable energy. Several different mechanisms exist in the bacterial world. In this lesson, we will examine the role of oxygen in bacterial aerobic respiration.

Anaerobic Bacterial Metabolism: Definition & Process

14. Anaerobic Bacterial Metabolism: Definition & Process

Bacteria are metabolically versatile and can grow in a range of environments. Many bacteria grow in environments without oxygen using anaerobic respiration and fermentation. This lesson will discuss the process of anaerobic respiration in bacteria.

Bacterial Fermentation Process & Products

15. Bacterial Fermentation Process & Products

Bacteria in anaerobic environments can break down organic compounds using fermentation. If you have ever eaten a fermented food, such as bread, yogurt or cheese, you have tasted the products of fermentation. Now, learn the details of this process.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) as a Model Organism or Host Cell

16. Escherichia coli (E. coli) as a Model Organism or Host Cell

A model organism can help scientists perform faster and more efficient biological research. This lesson examines the most utilized model organism, E. coli, and looks at the major characteristics that make it a perfect model.

Growth Requirements of E. coli and Auxotrophs

17. Growth Requirements of E. coli and Auxotrophs

Escherichia coli is a normal inhabitant of your gastrointestinal tract. In this lesson we will examine the conditions required for optimal growth of E. coli both in your colon and in culture.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
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