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How is a vacuole different from a vesicle?

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kchristiansen | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 18, 2009 at 1:08 PM via web

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How is a vacuole different from a vesicle?

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job518 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:40 PM (Answer #1)

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You know how a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square? Well...a vacuole is a vesicle. A vesicle is a bubble or sac containing fluid. In this case (science/biology), it is an intracellular sac that transports/digests materials and it is enclosed by a membrane. Vacuoles are mostly found in plant and fungal cells and hold mostly water. Typical plant cells have one large vacuole. Both carry out different functions within the cell dependant upon the substance which they hold.

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cambtone | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 18, 2009 at 10:26 PM (Answer #2)

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The difference would be due to its contents and its construction.  A vacuole is typical of plant cells and is fluid-filled with an aqueous solution of salts and sugars.  Vesicles occur in both animal and plant cells, and have different contents.  For example, lysosomes contain enzymes whereas phagosomes will contain contents from outside the cell or breakdown products of the cell.  Some vesicles have complex protein coats on the cellular side of the membrane and are known as "coated vesicles" (no surprise there then!).

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