Do Prokaryotic Cells Have Cilia: 7 Facts You Should Know

Prokaryotic cells do not have cilia, its only present in ciliated protozoans (eukaryotes). In this article, we learn interesting facts related to this question.

Do prokaryotic cells have cilia? No, Prokaryotic cells do not have Cilia. They are primitive microorganisms like bacteria, which lack complete cell structure. Thus, cilia are absent in them, but they have bacterial flagella, which helps them rotate in the surrounding fluid. Single-cell large organisms, protozoan, have cilia, for example, Paramecium, Euglena, and Spirogyra, for the displacement of their body for food.


 According to one of the studies in the Max Planck Institute, prokaryotes bacteria and ciliated single-celled organisms (protozoan) live in colonies in a mutualism relationship, which benefits both. Bacteria provide nutrition by oxidizing sulfur and protozoan to help bacteria protect and move.

Do all prokaryotic cells have cilia?

No, all prokaryotes don’t have cilia. It is only present in Eukaryotes which help organisms in regular movements. Cilia are the hair-like structure that covers the whole organism for transportation of food, locomotion, and protection. It only belongs to Phylum protozoan’s subphylum Ciliophora and class ciliate.

Prokaryotic cells do not have cilia
Cilia from Wikipedia

Cilia function in prokaryotic cells

Prokaryotic cells do not have cilia. Most of them have a single flagellum as a rotary motor while other bacteria such as Vibrio cholera glide over surfaces, in colonized form transfer through the external forces by water, air, and other organisms.

Do eukaryotic cells have cilia?

Yes, eukaryotic cells have cilia, and these organisms are called ciliates. Ciliates use cilia for locomotion on the solid surface or move the liquid to stay over the surface. These motile cilia have sensors that help move and grasp substances around the cells and make a direct way along with tracts.

Eukaryotic cilia are complex structure that is made up of tubulin protein. Cilia are microtubule-based cylindrical organelles that nucleate the formation of centrosomes, and check points in cell cycle.

The respiratory Epithelium-A Eukaryotic motile cilium
The respiratory Epithelium from Wikipedia

Do all eukaryotes have cilia?

Yes, cilia are present in all major eukaryotic groups. In humans, non-functional cilia are present in most cells, but motile ciliated cells are only present in bronchi, oviducts, sperm cells, and ependymal cells in the brain.

What eukaryotic cells have cilia?

Eukaryotic cells have two types of cilia; motile and non-motile cilia. Non-motile cilia are the primary cilia that have sensory organelles. Motile cilia can help in the movement of the whole organism.

Motile ciliated cells are present in the cell’s external layer in a hair-like structure. In humans, these functional ciliated cells are inline the respiratory tract. Its function is to move the mucosal liquid from dust and other debris in the lungs. Cilia are also present in the reproductive tract, which helps the fertilized ovary to the uterus.

Non-motile ciliated cells are present in most cells except blood cells, and they possess olfactory sensory receptors. Their functions were unknown when discovered, but later, it was found helpful in chemosensation, signal transduction, and cell growth control in human cells. Dysfunction of Cilia can also cause genetic disbalance in the kidneys and heart.

Do all cells have cilia?

Yes, all cells have cilia as non-motile primary structures found in several cells in eukaryotes, but blood cells are an exception that does not possess cilia. Eukaryotic cells of protozoans to vast organisms, have cilia or flagella like structure with some exceptions.

What types of cells have cilia?

Only eukaryotic cells have cilia as their locomotory organelles, and prokaryotic cells contain flagellum, which helps them rotate.

Primary cilia are present in stem cells, epithelial, endothelial, connection tissue, and muscle cells.

And motile cilia or secondary cilia are found in respiratory epithelial cells, ependymal cells, and embryonic nodes.

Kirti Singh

Hello, my name is Kriti Singh from Agra. I have completed a post-graduation degree in Biotechnology and a B.Ed. degree. Biology is my favorite subject since childhood and I never felt tired or bored with this particular subject. As I have an inquisitive personality, always been curious and fascinated to know more about life and nature. Let's connect through LinkedIn:

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