Endoplasmic Reticulum, Golgi Complexes and Secretory Vesicles

  • Robert A. Reid
  • Rachel M. Leech
Part of the Tertiary Level Biology book series (TLB)


During the 1950s an avalanche of electron microscopic (E.M.) studies showed that the cytoplasm of most plant and animal cells contained a complex membrane system of canaliculi and cisternae. This was named the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by Palade and was divided into rough ER, characterized by ribosomes on the outer surfaces of the cisternae, and smooth ER, which was devoid of ribosomes (figure 6.1). The rough ER was 40-50 nm wide, approximately half the width of the smooth ER elements. A third membrane system, known as the Golgi body or apparatus, since it was first reported by Golgi in 1898, was confirmed by E.M. and shown to be a relatively discrete interconnected fretwork of flattened sacs (saccules), tubules and vesicles that could fairly be termed an organelle. The finding that ER and Golgi bodies were particularly well developed in synthetically active cells like exocrine pancreas, liver, collagen-secreting fibroblasts and polymer-secreting plant cells, suggested that they were involved in synthetic and secretory activity. Subsequent investigations brilliantly vindicated these predictions.


Endoplasmic Reticulum Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum GOLGI Complex Secretory Vesicle Endoplasmic Reticulum Membrane 
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Further Reading

  1. Bowles, D. J. & Northcote, D. H. (1976) The size and distribution of polysaccharides during their synthesis within the membrane system of maize root cells. Planta (Berl.) 128, 101–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. Howell, K. E., Ito, A. & Palade, G. L. (1978) Endoplasmic reticulum marker enzymes in Golgi fractions—what does this mean? J. Cell Biol. 79, 581–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Leader, D. P. (1979) Protein synthesis on membrane-bound ribosomes. Trends in Biochem. Sc. 4, 205–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Mollenhauer, H. H. & Morre, J. D. (1966) Golgi apparatus and plant secretions. Ann. Rev. Plant Physiol. 18, 27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Morre, J. D., Mollenhauer, H. H. & Bracker, C. E. (1970) Origin and continuity of Golgi apparatus. In Origin and Continuity of Cell Organelles, (eds. J. Reinert & H. Ursprung). Springer Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  7. Northcote, D. H. (1968) The organisation of the endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi bodies and microtubules during cell division and subsequent growth. In Plant Cell Organelles, pp. 179–197, (ed. J. B. Pridham). Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  8. Whaley, W. G. (1975) The Golgi Apparatus. (Cell Biology Monograph No. 2). Springer Verlag, Wien.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Literature Cited

  1. Dallner, G., Elhammer, A. & Valtersson, C. (1979) Biosynthesis and assembly of the endoplasmic reticulum. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 7, 297–300.Google Scholar
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  7. Papahadjopoulos, D., Vail, W. J., Newton, C, Nir, S., Jacobson, K., Poste, G. & Lazo, R. (1977). Studies on membrane fusion. Ill The role of calcium-induced phase changes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 465, 579–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Sabatini, D. D. & Blobel, G. (1970) Controlled proteolysis of nascent polypeptides in rat liver cell fractions II. Location of the polypeptides in Rough Microsomes. J. Cell Biol. 45, 146–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Von Heijne, G. & Blomberg, C. (1979) Trans-membrane translocation of proteins: the direct transfer model. Eur. J. Biochem. 97, 175–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© R. A. Reid and R. M. Leech 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Reid
    • 1
  • Rachel M. Leech
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of YorkEngland

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