The Endomembrane System by austin tsai

The Nucleus

  • The Nucleus is made up of a nuclear membrane (of phospholipids), a nucleolus, and chromosomes. It has a spherical-elliptical shape.
  • It's job is to carry genetic info (DNA) as well as regulate the general function of the cell (reproduction, growth, etc.)
  • All Eukaryotes have one, but prokaryotes don't. Nuclei are prolific in eukaryotes
  • Diseases may include Emery-Dreifuss disease (causes movement restrictions), and others such as muscular dystrophy.
  • Fun fact: Every human cell has around 6ft worth of DNA all tightly compacted in the nucleus!
The Nucleus is like the brain of the cell.
Like Josh says, the nucleus can be SPHERICAL!!! :p


  • Ribosomes are tiny globular/egg-shaped organelles made up of 2 protein subunits as well as rRNA.
  • Their main function is protein synthesis by using mRNA derived from DNA in the nucleus.
  • They are found in all types of organisms (both prokaryotes and eukaryotes) and they are abundant in all organisms.
  • Diseases may include Diamond-Blackfan anemia (when bone marrow doesn't function properly), as well as dyskeratosis congenita, and treacher collins syndrome.
  • Fun fact: Ribosomes aren't surrounded by a membrane like other organelles!

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum

  • The rough ER is a series of flattened sacs of membrane connected to the nucleus with ribosomes bound to it.
  • They create membranes and secretory proteins which will be transported to the Golgi body or the smooth ER and then exported out of the cell.
  • Both plants and animal cells have a rough ER, but they're mainly prolific in pancreatic cells.
  • Diseases may include Parkinson's disease, which affects movement and you may experience super shaky hands.
  • Fun fact: Hemoglobin is produced here by the ribosomes attached to the rough ER!

Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum

  • The smooth ER is connected to the rough ER and is tubular shaped.
  • They create lipids and carbohydrates and also act as the transitional area for product from the rough ER. It also plays a role in detoxification.
  • Both plants and animal cells have a smooth ER, but they're mainly prolific in liver cells.
  • Diseases may include Type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar concentration in the bloodstream), as well as atherosclerosis.
  • Fun fact: It's called the smooth ER because it doesn't have ribosomes bounded to it.
Ribosomes and both ER's can be considered to be like factories :)

The Golgi Apparatus

  • The Golgi apparatus is a stack of flattened sacs in a semi-circular shape.
  • The Golgi apparatus modifies products of the ER (both) and then transports them off to the rest of the cell.
  • Both plants and animals have Golgi apparatuses, but they're mainly prolific in pancreatic cells.
  • A Golgi apparatus disease may include Parkinson's disease, which affects movement and causes shaky hands (as mentioned in the rough ER).
  • Fun fact: Molecules already modified by the Golgi apparatus can be modified again by the same Golgi apparatus!
Golgi Apparatuses are like amazon, they get stuff then ship it elsewhere.


  • Mitochondria are rod-shaped organelles that are double membrane-bound (one has a phospholipid bilayer), they have their own DNA and ribosomes.
  • Mitochondria synthesize energy for the cell by making ATP from cellular respiration.
  • Both plants and animal cells have mitochondria, but they're mainly prolific in fat cells.
  • Diseases for mitochondria may include multiple mitochondrial dysfunction syndrome, where multiple stage of impaired energy production occurs, which may lead to weak muscle tones and severe brain dysfunction.
  • Fun fact: They reproduce separately from the rest of the cell and contain their own DNA!
Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell


  • Chloroplasts are ovular organelles with membrane bound sacs inside of it. Chloroplasts also contain chlorophyll, which are green pigments for photosynthesis.
  • Chloroplasts are like the mitochondria of plant cells, they produce energy for the cell, but through photosynthesis instead of cellular respiration.
  • Chloroplasts are found only in plant cells, and are prolific in the leaf cells.
  • A chloroplast disease may include a phenotype mutation which can result in the whitening of plants.
  • Fun fact: Like mitochondria, chloroplasts reproduce separately from the cell and also contain their own DNA.
Chloroplasts are like solar panels, they take in sunlight to create energy


  • Flagella are whip-like structures protruding from the cell and connected to the cell membrane.
  • Flagella are mainly only used for cell movement.
  • Both Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes have flagella, but they're mainly prolific in sperm cells.
  • Diseases associated with Flagella include one called Ciliary dyskinesia which affect the respiratory tract and cause breathing problems.
  • Fun fact: The flagella found in eukaryotic cells are way different from those of prokaryotes. Eukaryotic flagella have the cell membrane surrounding it as well, while prokaryotic flagella do not.
Flagellum are like little propellers for the cell, whipping around to let it move


  • Cillia are hair-like structures protruding from the cell.
  • Like flagella, cillia mainly only function in cell movement.
  • Only animal cells contain cillia, and they are mainly prolific in the respiratory tract and egg cells.
  • Diseases associated with cillia can the same as the disease associated with flagella like ciliary dyskinesia, which affects the respiratory tract and causes breathing problems.
  • Fun fact: Although they are mainly used for movement, in the respiratory tract, cillia function in noses by taking out dust particles in the air we breathe.
Cilia are like the little bristles on a hair brush


  • Lysosomes are spherical-like membrane bound sacs containing digestive enzymes.
  • Their main function is in disposal of wastes, digestion of nutrients (when with a food vacuole), and cell death.
  • Lysosomes are only found in eukaryotes and are prolific in digestive cells like the liver, pancreas, etc.
  • Diseases for lysosomes may include Pompe's disease (which weakens muscles, enlarges the liver, and causes heart defects), Hurler syndrome, and Tay-Sachs disease.
  • Fun fact: Since lysosomes function in cell death as well, they are nicknamed the "suicidal sacs."
Lysosomes are like incinerators, removing waste from the cells

Food Vacuole

  • Food vacuoles are globular, membrane bound sacs, resembling larger vesicles.
  • Food vacuoles function in food storage and digestion (when working with a lysosome).
  • Only eukaryotes contain food vacuoles, and they are mainly prolific in single-celled organisms like amoebas.
  • Diseases may include Danons disease which causes the weakening of heart muscles and skeletal muscles.
  • Fun fact: Animal cells contain many small vacuoles while a plant cell really only has one large vacuole.
This shows how food vacuoles interact with lysosomes to digest food
Food Vacuoles are like pantries, housing food for the cell

Central Vacuole

  • The Central vacuole is a gigantic membrane bound sac in the center of a plant cell.
  • The central vacuole stores nutrients in the cell, stores water, controls cell turgor/pressure, and stimulates cell growth.
  • Only plants have a central vacuole, and so they are prolific only in plants.
  • Diseases associated with the central vacuole includes a disease known as "central vacuole disease state." In this state, the whole organelle shuts down, which allows toxins into the cell, killing it.
  • Fun fact: Sometimes a central vacuole can contract in order to pump excess water out of the plant cell.
The Central vacuole's like a treasure vault, holding all the important items for the plant cell


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Ozcan, Lale, and Ira Tabas. "Role of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Metabolic Disease and Other Disorders." Annual Review of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.
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