We have been studying that cells are the basic units of all life processes, for simple microbes, as well as for complex categories of plants and animals. Depending upon whether a proper nucleus is present or not, a cell is divided into two categories - the prokaryotes and the eukaryotes. The former is primitive and simple, with a nucleus and organelles that are devoid of membranes, whereas the latter is more evolved and complex with membrane bound organelles.
No doubt, there are some striking plant and animal cell differences. For example: presence of a cell wall, chloroplasts, and a large vacuole in a plant cell, whereas they are absent in an animal cell. Lysosomes, the organelle with more than 40 digestive enzymes are present in an animal cell, while it is absent in an plant cell.
In spite of the basic differences, a plant cell and an animal cell have many parts and structures in common. The primary cell organelles such as the nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes, etc., are present in both types of cells.
Mentioned below is a list of common parts and organelles shared by these cells:
Cell Membrane: It is found in both plant and animal cells. Also known as plasma membrane or plasmalemma, it is the outermost covering in an animal cell, while it lies next to the cell wall in a plant cell. The major functions of this membrane is to give shape to the cell, protection of the organelles, and transportation of nutrients from inside the cell to the outside and vice versa.
Nucleus: It the control center of the cell, and is a spherical shaped organelle, shared by both plant and animal cells. It houses the chromosomes, which are the hereditary material of an organism. Also, protein synthesis begins in this organelle, which is further continued and completed in the cell cytoplasm. Approximately, 10 percent of the cell volume is concentrated in the nucleus.
Cytoplasm: Is cytoplasm found in plants and animals? Yes it is. It is a semi-transparent fluid that is present between the nucleus and the plasma membrane. The cell organelles are suspended in this fluid. It is the medium for various biochemical reactions, which are important to promote cell growth and development.
Mitochondria: Plant and animal cells both have mitochondria in the cytoplasm. Commonly referred to as powerhouse of the cell, mitochondria are crucial to convert foods into usable forms of energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP). This organelle also contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), hence, plays an important role in transmission of genetic characters from parents to the offspring.
Ribosomes: They are another important cell organelle present in plants and animals. They are either scattered in the cytoplasm (free ribosomes), or are found attached to the endoplasmic reticulum (bound ribosomes). Both types are crucial for synthesis of proteins according to the directions of the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA).
Endoplasmic Reticulum: It comprises stacks of membranous tubules called cisternae. They are structures that connect the nucleus and cytoplasm. There are two types of endoplasmic reticulum: one without ribosomes (smooth endoplasmic reticulum or SER), and another with attached ribosomes (rough endoplasmic reticulum or RER).
Golgi Bodies: They are present in both plant and animal cells. They contain stacks of cisternae, and hence, they are also known as golgi complex or golgi apparatus. They play the role of modifying chemical substances, and transporting them in and out of the cell.
Structure-wise, a plant cell contains more parts than an animal cell. And function-wise, both types perform respiration and other common metabolic activities.