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Cytoplasmic Membrane Systems

Naijil George
Assistant Professor, Department of Biotechnology, St. Joseph's College, Irinjalakuda - 680 121, Thrissur Dist., Kerala, India.

Organelles of endomembrane system

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Endoplasmic Reticulum, Golgi complex, Endosomes, Lysosomes, and Vacuoles.

The organelles of the endomembrane system are part of a dynamic, integrated network in which materials are shuttled back and forth from one part of the cell to another.

Materials are shuttled between organelles mostly in small, membrane-bounded transport vesicles that bud from a donor membrane compartment Transport vesicles move through the cytoplasm in a directed manner on tracks formed by cytoskeleton When they reach their destination, the vesicles fuse with the membrane of the acceptor compartment.

Secretory pathway
Also called Biosynthetic pathway Proteins are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum Modified during passage through the Golgi complex, and Transported from the Golgi complex to various destinations - such as the plasma membrane, a lysosome, or the large vacuole of a plant cell

Types of Secretory pathway

1. Constitutive secretion, secreation in a continual manner.
Present in most cells Role in the formation of the extracellular matrix and plasma membrane

2. Regulated secretion Materials are stored as membrane-bound packages and discharged only in response to an appropriate stimulus. Roles
Endocrine cells that release hormones, Release of digestive enzymes Release of neurotransmitters.

In some of these cells, materials to be secreted are stored in large, densely packed, membrane-bound secretory granules

Endocytic pathway
Materials move from the outer surface of the cell to compartments

Endoplasmic Reticulum

Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)

In 1945 Porter discovered endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in liver cells ER comprise a system of continuous membranes that enclose a space, called lumen, that is separated from the surrounding cytosol. The membrane of ER compartment has two faces
The cytoplasmic face Luminal face

ER consist of 3 forms 1. Lamellar or cisternae 2. Vesicular or vesicles 3. Tubular or tubules

Cisternae-long flattened unbranched sac like structures of about 40-50m in diameter Arranged parellely as bundles or stakes Predominent in cells with synthetic roles

Vesicles-oval membrane bound vacuolar structures having diameter of 25-500m Often seen isolated in the cytoplasm.

Tubules-branched structures forming the reticular system along with vesicles and cisternae Having diameter of about 50-190m Occures in almost all the cells

Metabolic funtions of ER
These enzymes of ER are involved in the following reactions 1. Synthesis of glycerides 2. Metabolism of plasmalogens 3. Synthesis of fatty acids 4. Synthesis of steroids 5. Ascorbic acid synthesis 6. UDP-uronic acid metabolism & UDP glucose dephosphorylation

Exact process is not known It is assumed that ER has originated by evaginations of the nuclear membrane Seikevitz and Palade have reported that RER has originated first and latter synthesizes the SER

Types of ER
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is divided into two subcompartments based on the structural and functional differences,
Rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) - presence of ribosomes bound to its cytosolic surface Smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) lacks associated ribosomes

Two types of ER share many of the same proteins and engage in certain common activities, such as the synthesis of certain lipids and cholesterol.


Provides ultrastructural skeletal framework Gives mechanical support Exchange of molecules Provides increased surface for various enzymatic reactions Act as intracellular transport system

Also called granular ER Ribosomes remain attached on the surface as polysomes Commonly seen in cells active in protein synthesis Epical edge is smooth called transitional element On the surface the ribosomes are attached with the help of transmembrane glycoprotein called ribophorins

The RER is typically composed of a network of flattened sacs (cisternae). The RER is continuous with the outer membrane of the nuclear envelope, which also bears ribosomes on its cytosolic surface. Cells that secrete large amounts of proteins, such as the cells of the pancreas or salivary glands, have extensive regions of RER

The rough ER is the starting point of the biosynthetic pathway It is the site of synthesis of the proteins, carbohydrate chains, and phospholipids that journey through the membranous compartments of the cell.

1. PROTEIN SYNTHESIS Synthesis begins when m RNA binds to ribosomes

The covalent addition of sugars to the secretary proteins During this process a single species of oligosaccharide is transferred to proteins in the ER.

Oligosaccharide contains N-acetyl glucosamine, mannose, glucose etc

The precursor oligosacchride is held in the ER membrane by a special lipid molecule called dolicol

3. MEMBRANE BIOSYNTHESIS Newly synthesised proteins and lipids are inserted into the existing membrane Membrane forming vesicle move from ER to PM through GC

Also called agranular ER Ribosomes are absent on the surface of ER Seen in cells which are involved in lipids and glycogen metabolism Muscle cells are also rich in SER here it is known as sarcoplasmic reticulam In pigmented retinal cells SER is called myeloid bodies.

The SER is extensively developed in a number of cell types, including those of

skeletal muscle, kidney tubules, and steroid-producing endocrine glands

1. SYNTHESIS OF LIPIDS Phospholipid,cholesterol These lipids ,after synthesis transferred with the help of lipid exchange proteins

2.Glycogenolysis And Blood Glucose Homeostasis

Glycogen granules get attached on the surface Need of energy is fulfilled by breakdown of glycogen to glucose

3. Sterol metabolism
Contains enzymes for the synthesis of cholesterol and bile acids. Synthesis of steroid hormones in the endocrine cells of the gonad and adrenal cortex.

4. Detoxification
Detoxification of organic compounds, including barbiturates and ethanol in liver Whose chronic use can lead to proliferation of the SER in liver cells. Carried out by a system of oxygentransferring enzymes (oxygenases), including the cytochrome P450 family

5. Other functions
Sequestering calcium ions within the cytoplasm of cells. The regulated release of Ca2+ from the SER of skeletal and cardiac muscle cells (known as the sarcoplasmic reticulum in muscle cells) triggers contraction.

Intra cellular impulse conduction

In skeletal and cardiac muscle cells SER is called sarcoplasmic reticulam It transmit impulses from the membrane into deep regions of the muscle fiber and trigger muscle contraction

(Golgi complex or Golgi body)

Discovered by Camillo Golgi in 1898

Consisting primarily of flattened, disklike, membranous cisternae with dilated rims and associated vesicles and tubules Cisternae, diameters 0.5 - 1.0m, arranged in an orderly stack An individual stack is called dictyosome in plant cells. An individual cell contain few to 1000s of GC GCs are interconnected by membranous tubules

Sorting station
cis Golgi network (CGN)- interconnected network of tubules trans Golgi network (TGN)- contains a network of tubules and vesicles

The membranous elements are supported mechanically by membrane skeleton The Golgi scaffold may be physically linked with motor proteins

Glycosylation in the Golgi Complex

Glycoproteins and glycolipids cis and medial cisternae - remove most of the mannose residues Other sugars are added sequentially by various glycosyltransferases.

Movement of Materials

1. Modifying, sorting, and packaging of macromolecules 2. Transport of lipids around the cell 3. Creation of lysosomes 4. Protein glycosylation and phosphorylation 5. signal sequence incorporation, eg. mannose-6phosphate label for lysosomes. 6. Synthesis of proteoglycans 7. role in apoptosis via localised Bcl-2

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