Fungi Cell Structure and Function

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 Photo shows two large mushrooms, each with a wide white base and a bright red cap. The caps are dotted with small white protrusions.
Amanita. The poisonous Amanita muscaria is native to temperate and boreal regions of North America. (credit: Christine Majul)

OpenStax Biology 2e

Fungi are eukaryotes, and as such, have a complex cellular organization. As eukaryotes, fungal cells contain a membrane-bound nucleus. The DNA in the nucleus is wrapped around histone proteins, as is observed in other eukaryotic cells. A few types of fungi have accessory genomic structures comparable to bacterial plasmids (loops of DNA); however, the horizontal transfer of genetic information that occurs between one bacterium and another rarely occurs in fungi. Fungal cells also contain mitochondria and a complex system of internal membranes, including the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus.

Unlike plant cells, fungal cells do not have chloroplasts or chlorophyll. Many fungi display bright colors arising from other cellular pigments, ranging from red to green to black. The poisonous Amanita muscaria (fly agaric) is recognizable by its bright red cap with white patches. Pigments in fungi are associated with the cell wall and play a protective role against ultraviolet radiation. Some fungal pigments are toxic to humans.

Like plant cells, fungal cells have a thick cell wall. The rigid layers of fungal cell walls contain complex polysaccharides called chitin and glucans. Chitin (N-acetyl-D-glucosamine), also found in the exoskeleton of arthropods such as insects, gives structural strength to the cell walls of fungi. The wall protects the cell from desiccation and some predators. Fungi have plasma membranes similar to those of other eukaryotes, except that the structure is stabilized by ergosterol: a steroid molecule that replaces the cholesterol found in animal cell membranes. Most members of the kingdom Fungi are nonmotile. However, flagella are produced by the spores and gametes in the primitive Phylum Chytridiomycota.

Source:

Clark, M., Douglas, M., Choi, J. Biology 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/details/books/biology-2e

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