12 Difference Between Cilia And Microvilli

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Cilia and microvili are two types of projections in the plasma membrane.  Microvilli are microscopic cellular membrane protrusions that increase the surface area for absorption. Cilia on the other hand, are narrow and long hair like protuberances from the apical surface of some epithelial cells. Both microvilli and cilia consist of protein fibers that extend outward from the cell and provide shape for the structures. These protein fibers are covered by extensions of the cell membrane that serve to protect them. However, the type and arrangement of the protein fibers differ between cilia and microvilli.

Microvilli contain tiny fibers referred to as actin filaments that extend parallel to each other down the length of the microvillus. The filaments are attached to each other and to cell membrane by bundles of protein that run perpendicular across actin filaments.

Cilia

Cilia on the other hand, are composed of larger, hollow tubes referred to as microtubules. The microtubules are arranged in a circle and anchored to the cell by a structure at the base of the cilium referred to as basal body.

Below, learn more differences between cilia and microvili.

The Difference

  1. Cilia are cylindrical with tapering ends whereas Microvilli are cylindrical with blunt ends.
  2. Cilia are located on the surfaces of the columnar epithelia cells of the respiratory tract and uterine tube whereas Microvilli are located on the surfaces of the columnar epithelial cells of the small intestine and kidney tubule.
  3. Cilia is made up of microtubules arranged in a (9+2) pattern while the core of microvili is made up of microfilament, hence it lacks (9+2) Ultrastructure.
  4. Cilia are motile components, they move back and forth to propel the fluid in one direction whereas Microvilli are non-mortile components.
  5. Cilia occur in relatively fewer numbers when compared to microvilli.
  6. Cilia extend slightly into the cell and are anchored through a special structure referred to as basal body, which is made of microtubules. Such a structural arrangement is absent in microvilli. Microvilli does not arise from the basal body.
  7. Cilia are used to move the cell bodies and other sweeping processes whereas microvili are used in the absorption process.
  8. Cilia are longer than microvilli.
  9. Cilia does increase the surface area of cells on which they are present. On the other hand, Microvilli increase the surface area of cells on which they are present.
  10. Cilia have a relatively wider diameter when compared to microvilli.
  11. Cilia are relatively thinner when compared to microvilli.
  12. Cilia do not possess a glycocalyx layer whereas Microvilli are surrounded by a glycocalyx layer.

Also Read: The Structural Difference between Flagella and Pili

Difference Between Cilia And Microvilli In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON CILIA MICROVILLI
Ends Cilia are cylindrical with tapering ends. Microvilli are cylindrical with blunt ends.  
Location They are located on the surfaces of the columnar epithelia cells of the respiratory tract and uterine tube.   They are located on the surfaces of the columnar epithelial cells of the small intestine and kidney tubule.  
Pattern Cilia are made up of microtubules arranged in a (9+2) pattern.   The core of microvili is made up of microfilament, hence it lacks (9+2) Ultrastructure.  
Mortility Cilia are motile components, they move back and forth to propel the fluid in one direction.   Microvilli are non-mortile components.
Number Cilia occur in relatively fewer in numbers when compared to microvilli.   Microvilli occur in relatively Many in numbers when compared to cilia.  
Structural Arrangement Cilia extend slightly into the cell and are anchored through a special structure referred to as basal body, which is made of microtubules.   Such a structural arrangement is absent in microvilli. Microvilli does not arise from the basal body.
Use Cilia are used to move the cell bodies and other sweeping processes.   Microvili are used in the absorption process.  
Length Cilia are longer than microvilli.   Microvilli  are shorter than microvilli.  
Effect On Surface Area Cilia does increase the surface area of cells on which they are present.   Microvilli increase the surface area of cells on which they are present.                
Diameter Cilia have a relatively wider diameter when compared to microvilli.   Microvilli have a relatively narrower diameter when compared to microvilli.  
Size Cilia are relatively thinner when compared to microvilli.   Microvilli are relatively thicker when compared to cilia.  
Glycocalyx Cilia do not possess a glycocalyx layer.   Microvilli are surrounded by a glycocalyx layer.  

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