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A Microscopic Look at Lifes Organization
All species of living organisms, whether unicellular or multicellular, are comprised of
cells and can be studied using a microscope. Scientist also investigate and classify
viruses, they are not considered alive since they cannot live outside of the cells.
Viruses differ from prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells in that:
- They are dependent on the internal physiology cells
- They are not cellular and thus lack cytoplasm, organelles, and cell
Classifying Viruses
Scientists classify viruses by their characteristics that include:
- Size and shape of the capsid (protein coat surrounding genetic
- Shape and structure of the virus
- Types of diseases the virus cause
- Genome (set of genes) and type of genetic material (RNA or DNA)
Method of reproduction
Virus Size
- Are microscopic and usually varying in diameter from 20nm to 250-400
Virus shape
Polyhedral- Nucleic acid surrounded by a many-sided shell, usually in the form of an
icosahedron (20 equilateral triangles) e.g., poliovirus, rhinovirus, adenovirus
Envelope- Nucleic acid surrounded by either a helical or polyhedral core and
covered by and envelope EX/ influenza virus, Hepatitis C
Helical: Nucleic acid surrounded by a hollow cylinder possessing a cylindrical
Complex - have neither helical nor polyhedral forms, are pleomorphic or irregular
shaped or have complex structures e.g.,T4 (bacteriophage i.e., attacks bacteria)
Reproduction in Viruses
- Viruses undergo replication inside a host cell. Some viruses replicate
by means of a lytic cycle, where they quickly attach, enter, replicate,
assemble, and release from a cell killing the cell in the process
- Other viruses replicate by means of a lysogenic cycle, where they
enter and then attach their DNA to the host's chromosomes. Now referred to

as a provirus, it can lie dormant within the host chromosome until it reactivates and continues with the lytic cycle.

Reproduction in viruses
Lytic cycle
1. Attach -2. Entry
3. Replicate
4. Assembly
5. Exit
Viruses and Disease
- In multicellular species, lytic viruses burst from host cells and infect
neighboring cells. Host organisms that are already damaged are affected
more rapidly.
- Lysogenic viruses may not cause any immediate effects on the host
EXAMPLE: Herpes Viruses
- Herpes simplex- active lesions of mouth or genitals
- varicella -zoster virus- chickenpox and shingles
- Epstein-barr virus- mononucleosis
- Papilloma virus
- Hepatitis B
- Retrovirus
Prions: Non-viral Disease-Causing agents
- Prions: discovered in the 1980s, are protein and thus are the only
known non-genetic disease agent. They become harmful when they change
molecular shape. They remain infectious even after exposure to radiation.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- Organic brain syndrome caused by a protein-like partible called prion.
- Loss of brain function Alzheimer's disease
- Dementia first, death follows.

Comparing Bacteria and archaea
Comparisons of cell type, morphology (shape), aggregation, nutrition, habitat, and
reproduction show similarities and differences between the two domains.


Some bacteria are shaped

- Similar shapes of cocci

(spheres), broccoli (rods), and
spiral cells
- Some species form
- For energy, species either
consumer other organisms or use
inorganic compounds
- Species live in aerobic or
anaerobic habitats
- Both found in extreme
environments; more archaea live
in extreme habitats
(extremophiles), while more
bacteria live in moderate habitats
- Reproduce binary

like pyramids, cubes, or rods with

star cross-sections, while some
archaea are shaped like plates or
rectangular rods
- Some bacteria are
photosynthetic, while some
archaea are pathogenetic
(produce methane gas an
anaerobic by-product)
- Bacteria live anaerobically
in human guts; archaea live
anaerobically in cattle guts.

Three Types of Extremophiles

- Thermophiles: Live in hot springs and deep sea vents, enduring
temperatures over 100 degrees celsius
- Archaea Methanopyrus
- Acidophiles: live in volcanic craters and mine draining lakes, enduring
pH levels lower than 3.
- Archaea Picrophilus
- Halophiles: live in salt lakes and inland seas, enduring salt
concentrations about 20%
Reproduction of Bacteria and Archaea
Reproducing Asexually
Since both domains are prokaryotic and lack a nucleus, both reproduce asexually
binary fission.
1. cells grow
2. makes a copy of its single chromosome
3. After elongating and separating the two copies, the cell builds a
septum between
4. splits into two identical cells
Reproduction of bacteria and archaea
DNA can be exchanged instead of reproducing by binary fission. In conjugation, one
cell links to another by a pilus (tube) and transfers a copy of some or all of the
- Both have small dna loops called plasmids that contain genes different
from those of the chromosome

- Plasmids can also be transferred through conjugation resulting in new

genetic combinations, increasing biodiversity
- Bacteria from hard-walled structures called endospores to protect and
store the genetic material.
Classifying and identifying bacteria/archaea
Characteristics are used to classify and identify these two prokaryotic domains
- Size and shape
- Nutrition
- Movment
- Genetic components
- Gram staining
Gram staining works to separate bacteria into two groups.
Positive stain
- Purple because they contain a thick protein layer on their cell wall
Negative stain
- Pink because they have a thin protein layer on their cell wall
Bacteria, human health and the environment
Helpful bacteria
- toxin from Clostridium botulinum can help people with Parkinsons
disease and diminish wrinkles
- release digestive enzymes to break down organisms (i.e., saprophytes
- nutrient cycles through decomposition)
- clean up contaminated areas through bioremediation process e.g., oil
spills, sewage
- support digestive function (probiotics in yogurt)
- produce major amounts of oxygen through the process of
photosynthesis (cyanobacteria)
- applications in biotechnology since its enzymes are able to withstand
extreme conditions

SECTION 2.3/ 2.4

Eukaryotic Evolution and Diversity
- The theory of endosymbiosis suggests that eukaryotic cells evolved
from symbiotic relationships between two or more prokaryotic cells.

Protists: The Unicellular Eukaryotes

- Most protists are unicellular. They are diverse and grouped into one
- Do not fit well into other kingdoms.
- debate about whether multicellular algal species fit into the kingdom
or plant kingdom.
This kingdom can be grouped as:
- Animal - like protists
- Fungus - like protists
- Plant - like protists
- They are also known as protozoans they are heterotrophic (consume
prokaryotes, other protists, or organic waste). Some are parasitic
Four phyla will be highlighted:
- Cercozoa
- Ciliophora
- Zoomastigina
- Sporozoa
Phylum cercozoa includes the amoebas. Using pseudopods (false feet) they
change shape to move and engulf food. They inhabit various environments,
including fresh water, saltwater, and humans (as parasites)

Phylum Ciliophora Include the ciliates such as paramecia. The surface of the cell has
hair- like projections called cilia that are used for locomotion and food sweeping.
These protists inhabit various environments, and some are parasites. They are large
and complex organisms.
Phylum Zoomastigina contains species with hard protective coverings over their
outer membrane, These protists are called flagellates because they have one or
more whip- like flagella, used for locomotion. They live in a variety of environment
and conditions,
Phylum Sporozoa Includes parasitic protists. They are unique in that they altermate
between asexueal and sexual reproduction that often occurs in different hosts.
Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for most cases of malaria in humans.
These protists absorb nutrients from living organisms, dead organisms, and wastes
and are thus considered heterotrophic. They are similar to fungi in that they
produce spores. They are classified generally into two categories: Slime moulds and
water moulds.
Three phyla will be highlighted
- Myxomycota
- Acrasiomycota
- Oomycota
Organisms in Phylum Myxomycota are know as also known as the plasmodial slime
moulds. Visible to the unaided eye as tiny slug - like organism, they creep and
stream over decaying plant matter in forests and engulf small particles. A
plasmodium contains many nuclei.
Organisms in Phylum Acrasiomycota are also known as the cellular slime moulds.
They differ from Myxomycota in many ways
- EXAMPLE: Their cells contain one nucleus. They live as separate cells
and behave like Amoebas until food is scarce, when they join together as a
slime mould.

Organisms in Phylum Oomycota are filamentous water moulds that consume dead
organic matter. However, some species are parasitic and draw nutrients out of their
hosts by extending fungus-like threads into their tissues and releasing digestive
Unicellular, plant - like protists include diatoms, dinoflagellates, and euglenoids.
They all contain photosynthetic pigments in their chloroplasts, many of which
contain chlorophyll. Three phyla will be highlighted:
- Chrysophyta
- Pyrrophyta
- Euglenophyta
Organisms in phylum chrysophyta are also called phytoplankton. They are freeliving aquatic diatoms and are an important source of food for many marine
organisms. They can reprdouce asexucally and sexually (when conditions become
less favourable.)

Organisms in phylum pyrrophyta are also

called dinoflagellates. Two flagella,
extending at right angles on the
organism, produce a spinning movement during locomotion.
- When food is plentiful, these organisms reproduce quickly and cause
great algal blooms. While dinoflagellates are photosynthetic, some live in
mutualistic relationships with coral.
A genus of dinoflagellates called symbiodinium or zoox i.e, zooxanthellae live in
reef-building corals and benefit by using nitrogen wastes and carbon dioxide
obtained by coral. Coral gain the benefits of photosynthesis performed by the
protists. Global warming cause ocean temperatures to rise and protists are expelled
(coral bleaching)
Organisms in Phylum Euglenophyta are mostly freshwater species. They tend to be
autotrophs in sunlight and heterotrophs on the dark. They have chloroplasts for
making food by day and can absorbed by nutrients at night.