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Appendix B. Microbial Life Forms > Fungi Are Eukaryotes Having Cell Walls But N...

Fungi Are Eukaryotes Having Cell Walls But Not Chloropasts

Yeasts, molds, and mushrooms are fungi. Unlike bacteria, fungal cells store their DNA in true nuclei. Such subcellular structures, called organelles, localize particular cellular functions. For example, mitochondria are power plants that convert chemical energy from sugars into molecules such as ATP. Lysosomes are the cellular equivalent of garbage disposal units. They are filled with enzymes that destroy other macromolecules. Bacterial cells lack such localization of cellular activity.

In general, the molecules that constitute fungal cells are similar to those of human cells. Consequently, antibiotics that attack bacteria usually fail to affect fungi, largely because the agents were designed to have little activity against eukaryotic organisms. However, fungal cells do differ from our cells in fundamental ways that can be exploited. One of those differences involves the structure of the cell membrane. Most clinical antifungal agents target enzymes that participate in making components of the membrane.


  

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