Encyclopedia of Systems Biology

2013 Edition
| Editors: Werner Dubitzky, Olaf Wolkenhauer, Kwang-Hyun Cho, Hiroki Yokota

Organelle and Functional Module Resources

  • Eduardo Mendoza
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9863-7_1053



An organelle is a discrete structure or specialized subunit within a cell that carries out a specific function. Though originally associated only with eukaryotic cells, recent research has identified similar structures in prokaryotic cells. Organelles are often enclosed within a lipid bilayer membrane and hence are synonymous with “cell compartments” for many cell biologists. However, there are important subunits such as ribosomes which are not membrane-enclosed. The narrowest definition specifies an organelle as a membrane-enclosed and DNA-containing entity (with a particular function): Mitochondria and chloroplasts (in plants) are such examples.

A functional module is the computational equivalent of a (physical) organelle: It is defined as a subunit (typically as a subnetwork in a molecular network) with a specific function. A well-studied example is the chemotaxis functional module of E. coli....

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of the Philippines DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines