The Endomembrane System Bailey James

The Nucleus

Structure: Circular structure found in the center of a cell, made of chromatin and nucleoli

Chromatin: Made of DNA and protein

Nucleoli: Contain protein and RNA


Prolific: Yes, but only in certain cells, such as liver cells, muscle fibers, and osteoclasts.

Disease: There are a number of diseases associated with the Nucleus- most common is Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy

Emery-Dreifuss is a musclulaeDisease that attacks and weakens skeletal and cardiac muscle and occurs due to defects in nuclear lamins and in the inner nuclear envelope

Interesting Fact: Each cell contains approximately 6 feet of DNA, which is tightly packed in the nucleus and held together and organized by proteins.


Structure: Contains ribosomal RNA and has two other components- a small ribosomal subunit and a large subunit

Small ribosomal subunit reads RNA, and the large subunit joins amino acids, forming a polypeptide chain.

The amount of RNA and proteins varies in the large and small subunits, which affects the shape of the ribosome.

Two kinds of ribosomes- free (which "float" in the cytoplasm of the cell), and bound (which are bound to the Endoplasmic Reticulum)

Function: Functions in the creation of proteins, where mRNA is encoded by DNA and forms proteins

In Endoplasmic Reticulum, ribosomes also create a pathway for proteins to exit the cell

Proteins are formed by amino acid chains, which then fold into either a primary, secondary, tertiary, or quaternary structure
Both Eukaryotes and Prokaryotes contain ribosomes- this includes plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, and protists

Prolific: Ribosomes are prolific because in certain organs, such as the pancreas, many ribosomes are needed to create proteins that can exit the cell.

Numerous ribosomes in the pancreas allow it to fulfill its role in the body, to carry insulin to different cells and throughout the body

Diseases: Extensive research has found that ribosomes are affected by diseases, and in some, the Ribosomes are defected, making he disease worse.

Diseases like Alzheimer's and Gastric Cancer often affect ribosomes, and occur because there are defects with the proteins associated with the body part affected by the given disease
Interesting Fact: Once a ribosome synthsizes a polypeptide chain, the two ribosomal subunits separate, and can either be reused or broken.

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum

Structure: Folded, network of membranes that aids in the processing of proteins, that has a high surface area, and is "rough" due to millions of ribosomes attached to the Rough E.R.'s surface.

The large surface area of the Rough E.R. allows for efficient production of proteins and lipids

Function: Ribosomes on the outside of the Rough E.R. encode the directions from the nucleus and create specific protein, and the Rough E.R. assists in folding the polypeptide chain into its given structure

How Ribosomes and the Rough E.R. work together to create and fold a polypeptide chain
Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum is found in Eukayotic Organisms- Includes plants, animals, and fungi

Prolific: The Rough E.R is prolific in certain organs, such as the pancreas or liver, that require many rough E.R structures, in order to fulfill their individual functions.

Diseases: Stress of the Rough E.R. causes several different diseases, one of the most common being cystic fibrosis, but one of the most interesting is pseudoachandroplastic dwarfism.

Pseudoachandroplastic dwarfism is a disease where a person's leg stop growing around age 3, but the rest of their body continues to develop as its normal rate. This is caused by a rough E.R. storage disorder, where the COMP protein is not synthesized.
With Pseudoachandroplastic dwarfism, males typically grow to be about 3 feet, 11 inches, and women typically grow to be about 3 feet, 9 inches.

Interesting Fact: The Rough E.R. communicates with other sections of the cell through transport vesicles, but use autophagosomes to communicate with lysosomes and peroxisomes.

Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum

Structure: Folded, network of membranes that is responsible for the synthesis of various lipids, hormones, and substances that are potentially dangerous to the cell if not detoxified. Composed of an inner lumen (a folded phospholipid bilayer) that are positioned in the cytoplasm.

Function: Smooth E.R functions in manufacturing of lipids, metabolism, and the processing of toxins.

The Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum is found in eukaryotic plant and animal cells

Prolific: Prolific in the areas responsible for hormone synthesis and where ions enter/exit a cell.

Disease: One disease associated with the Smooth E.R. is Alzheimer's disease.

Believed that the Smooth E.R. is one of the causes of Alzheimer's because in a recent study conducted by George S. Zubenko, it was found that patients with specific protein markers (proteins associated with the smooth E.R.) suffered from the disease because of a missing protein.
Interesting Fact: The Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum plays a role in the liver, and is responsible for metabolizing glycogen and detoxifying lipophilic drugs. This role serves an important role in life saving medications and in the modifying of toxins.

Golgi Apparatus

Structure: "Maze-like" structure that consists of flattened, membranous sacs, known as cisternae. Found outside the Endoplamsic Reticulum.

Function: "Assembly factory" of the cell where raw materials of the cell are processed before exiting the cell. Also responsible for sulfation process of certain molecules, creating lysosomes, the transport of lipid molecules around a cell, and in the production of proteoglycans- molecules present in the extracellular matrix of animal cells.

In terms of protein production, after proteins are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum, they are sent to the golgi apparatus so carbohydrates can be added, allowing the protein to leave the cell.
Found in plant and animal cells- animal cells tend to have fewer, but larger Golgi Apparatuses, while plants can have hundreds of small versions of the Golgi Apparatus.

Prolific: In plant cells, the Golgi Apparatus is prolific, as there can be hundreds of the organelle depending on how many the cell needs. However, in animal cells, the Aolgi Apparatus is not prolific because there are typically the same amount in each cell and contain less due to their large size.

Diseases: One type of disease associated with the Golgi Apparatus is Achondrogenesis. There are three types of the disease, type 1a, 1b, and type II. All three types are lethal and attack catiage and bone development.

Specifically, Type 1a triggers a mutation in the thyroid hormone receptor, as well as attacking catrtilage and bone development.

Baby affected by Achondrogenesis, showing visible skeletal abnormalities in its x-ray

Interesting Fact: The Golgi Apparatus was discovered by Camillo Golgi in 1897. Originally, the Golgi Apparatus was seen using dye and could only be seen as a solid structure. Early in the 1900's, the Golgi Apparatus was then seen in detail with the structure we know today.


Structure: Pill-shaped organelle, double bounded by a membrane. Contains an inner and outer membrane, an intermembrane space, a matrix, and a crista.

The Outer Membrane is a simple phospholipid bilayer, inner membrane is a selectively permeable membrane and is only permeable to oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water. Intermembrane space is empty space between the membranes. The Matrix contains enzymes that are catalysts for citric acid cycle reactions. The Cristae is the foldings of the inner membrane, that increase surface area.

Function: Take place in a number of cellular metabolic processes. Known as the powerhouse of the cell because it supplies the necessary biological need for energy in a cell. Converts food into ATP, which cells use to carry out biological functions.

All Eukaryotic organisms contain a nucleus because the mitochondria is a membrane bound organelle. This includes plants, animals, protists, and fungi.

Prolific: Yes, the Mitochondria is prolific in several different cells. In animal cells, the Mitochondria is prolific in muscle cells because as a muscle grows and works more, more Mitochondria are required in order to produce energy for the muscle to move.

Diseases: Dementia is one disease that is associated with the Mitochondria. Dementia, also known as mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, is a disease that can begin at any stage of life and has a broad spectrum of symptoms.

The Mitochondria is responsible for dementia because as the Mitochondria produces less energy, cell death follows. This affects the brain, and if the loss of Mitochondria is extreme, the whole organ system can die.

Interesting Fact: The Mitochondria can quickly change shape and size and can move around the cell when needed.


Structure: Chloroplasts contain either biconvex or planoconvex shape, and the shape of the chlororplast can change depending on their function.

Chloroplasts have a vascular and colorless center. Within the Chloroplast, there are several structures that contribute to its function.

Function: Functions in immune response, creating food for plants via photosynthesis, and the production of the NADPH2 molecule and oxygen as a result of photolysis of water.

Eukaryotes, such as plants and protists, contain chloroplasts in their cells. All plants contain chloroplasts and protists, like algae, contain chloroplasts.

Prolific: Chloroplasts are prolific because in plant cells, many are needed to convert sunlight to sugar as a food source.

Diseases: Although there is no name for the disease, a protein disorder has been found in many plants. The protein disorder occurs in one of the amino acid chains, that were encoded by mitochondria and chloroplasts. This protein disorder has no profound affect on the plants, but can be traced back to the chloroplast.

Interesting Fact: Chloroplasts have their own genome, that is separate from the DNA of the plant itself. Chloroplasts contain plasmids that carry approximately 120 genes.


Structure: A whip-like structure, made up of the protein flagellin. The "tail" is known as the hook, and the "body" is called the basal body.

Function: The Flagellum is used in cell motility, moves in a circular motion to propel

The Flagellum is found in all organisms- plants, animals, protists, fungi, and bacteria

Prolific: Flagellum is abundant in cases of bacteria, where many bacterial cells will need flagella in order to move. Flagellum are also prolific in sperm cells, as sperm cells need flagella in order to have motility.

Diseases: Flagellum plays an important role in pathogenesis. The flagellum is used to help propel bacteria, such as E. Coli or Proteus spp that are common causes of urinary tract infections, from the urethra into the bladder. The flagellum is responsible for causing urinary tract infections.

Interesting Fact: The arrangement and number of flagella on a given cell are distinctive for each genus. There are four types of flagellum arrangements- Monotrichous, Amphitrichous, Lopotrichous, and Peritrichous.


Structure: Thin, microscopic, hair-like structures that extend from the surface of animal cells.

Move in a back and forth motion to propel itself forward

Function: Two types of Cilia that have individual functions. Motile Cilia allows the cell to move, and in the lungs, keep airways clear of mucus. Non-motile Cilia functions as a sensory antenna and communication between cells.

Animal cells contain cilia, and are found specifically on mammalian cells.

Prolific: Yes, Cilia are prolific because in the case of the lungs, many are used to ensure the airway remains clear from mucus.

Disease: There are several diseases and disorders associated with cilia. Defects that cause Cilia to be immotile result in respiratory disease, infertility, and congestive heart failure. Defects in the primary Cilia result in possible loss of vision, obesity, diabetes, cystic kidney disease, and stunted bone development.

IMMOtILE Cilia causes infertility because Cilia that is attached to the sperm can no longer propel the sperm forward, resulting in infertility.

Interesting Fact: While Cilia and Flagellum both serve in motility, Cilia is more specialized. Cilia is often found in animal cells, removing foreign objects from the body, keeping pathways clear.


Structure: Spherical organelle that is surrounded by a single phospholipid bilayer. The shape and size of a lysosome varies from cell to cell.

Phospholipid membrane protects the cell from the harsh digestive enzymes that are found in the lysosome.

In this image, the phopholipid bilayer, that surrounds the lysosome and protects the surrounding cell parts, can be seen. The Hydrolytic Enzyme mixture, the combintion of enzymes within the lysosome ,can also be seen.

Function: The Lysosome's main function is being digestive compartments for cellular materials that are no longer useful for the cell. Lysosomes are responsible for autophagy, or cell recycling.

Another function of the Lysosome is the breaking down of cellular wastes, as well as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and several other macromolecules. The Lysosome then converts them into simple compounds that can be taken to the cytoplasm to be reused in the cell.

Lysosomes are found in Eukaryotic animal cells, and in some plant cells. Most commonly, they are found in white blood cells and other disease-fighting cells.

Prolific: Lysosomes are prolific, especially in disease-fighting cells because many are needed in order to fulfill their task and perform efficiently.

Disease: Many diseases are caused by Lysosome enzyme disorders. These disorders have a profound affect on cellular digestion.

One disease associated with Lysosomes are Tay-Sachs disease.

Caused by a genetic disorder that cannot breakdown gangliosides, a complex lipid.

When gangliosides accumulate, the nervous system can be damaged and has the potential to cause death.

interesting fact: The name lysosome comes from two greek words- Lysis (Destruction) and Soma (Body)

Food Vacuole

Structure: Formed through phagocytosis and when cellular food come into contact with the membrane

Membrane enclosed sacs containing material taken in phagocytosis

Function: Holds food matierals for the cell to use later, and are attached to the Lysosome that digest the cellular food.

Food Vacuoles can be found in both plant and animal cells

Prolific: Yes, because food vacuoles appear and disappear within a cell.

Diseases: Danon's Disease, also known as cardiomyopathy, is a disease associated with food vacuoles in cells.

Occurs due to a mutation in the LAMP 2 gene, that fuses the Lysosome to the Vacuole

Leads to the breakdown of muscle tissues, and eventually causes death. Males die from the disease around 19 years of age, while females die around 31 years of age.

This image shows the effects of Danon's Disease on cardiac muscle tissue.
Interesting Fact: The food vacuole can help in the removal of poisonous materials from the cell. Despite being poisonous, the food vacuole performs phagocytosis, cell-eating, to remove the poison from the cell.

Central Vacuole

Structure: Membrane-bound sac found mostly in plant cells, contains water and enzymes, and is surrounded by a phospholipid bilayer.

Tonoplast covers the outside of the Central Vacuole

Typically the largest organelle in the cell

Function: Storage of materials, waste disposal, maintaining pressure within a cell, and provide structural support.

Vacuoles are found in eukaryotic plant and Fungi cells

Prolific: Yes, because many cells require several vacuoles to store extra cellular materials.

Diseases: While Danon's Disease, which is associated with the Food Vacuole, is also associated with the Central Vacuole. However, many diseases are related to the Vacuole if it were to malfunction.

If the Central Vacuole does not work, it no longer functions in it's role of pathogenesis, causing the cell to face many issues.

interesting fact: The vacuole of any given cell takes up approximately 80% of the cell's space.

Works Cited!n=12


Created with images by Filter Forge - "Luminous Cells"

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