Definition of Organelle

In cell biology, an organelle /rnl/ is a specialized subunit within a cell that has a specific function. Individual organelles are usually separately enclosed within their own lipid bilayers. The name organelle comes from the idea that these structures are to cells what an organ is to the body (hence the name organelle, the suffix -elle being a diminutive). Organelles are identified by microscopy, and can also be purified by cell fractionation. There are many types of organelles, particularly in eukaryotic cells. While prokaryotes do not possess organelles per se, some do contain protein-based microcompartments, which are thought to act as primitive organelles.