Function of the Vacuole

A vacuole is usually found in all plant and fungal cells, as well as some cells of protists, animals, and bacteria. These membrane-bound structures are basically just enclosed compartments thatare filled with both inorganic and organic molecules, along with water to support the organelle. Vacuoles may also containsolutions of enzymes and occasionally solid particles that have been engulfed.

There is no typical size or shape for a vacuole, theysimply vary depending on what the individual cell needs. They're formed by the fusion of several different vesicles.

Vacuoles can serve a wide variety of functions in a cell, and their importance depends on what role they play within the cell. Typically, their job includes isolating harmful materials, storing waste products, storing valuable water in a plant cell, helping maintain the pressure within a cell, balancing the pH of a cell, exporting products out of the cell, and storing proteins for seed germination.

Vacuoles also have much more involved roles to play in the cell, such as autophagy, supporting biogenesis and degradation of various structures, and thelysisof unwanted proteins. Scientists have even theorized that the vacuole plays a significant part in destroying bacterial intruders or storing helpful bacteria.

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