Endoplasmic reticulum

The endoplasmic reticulum comprises two morphologically distinct systems that are interconnected to form a single membrane system. The functions of the system broadly consist of synthesis, storage, transport and detoxification. The endoplasmic reticulum consists of membrane-enclosed branching tubules and flattened sacs (cisternae) and vesicles, which intercommunicate throughout the cytosol forming an intracellular transport network. The cisternal space is enclosed within. The endoplasmic reticulum is the largest subcellular organelle.

The rough endoplasmic reticulum contains ribosomes and is the site of protein synthesis, being involved in translation of messenger RNA into protein.

Functions of smooth endoplasmic reticulum

Site of mixed function oxidase systems in the liver, which detoxify various organic compounds.

The site of glucose release from glucose-6-phosphate in the liver via glucose 6-phosphatase.

In muscle it forms the T-system of sarcoplasmic reticulum, which is involved in calcium sequestration.

The smooth endoplasmic reticulum does not contain ribosomes and is the site of lipid (fatty acids and phospholipids) and steroid synthesis. This includes the synthesis of steroid hormones in the adrenal cortex and the gonads.

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