Role of the Endoplasmic Reticulum
The primary role of endoplasmic reticulum, ER, is for the production of lipid and protein components of most organelles of the cell. Although the endoplasmic reticulum contains a huge amount of folds, its membranes form a single sheet that encloses a single closed sac. That internal space is known as the ER lumen. Aside from that, the ER is responsible in moving proteins and other carbohydrates into the Golgi apparatus, the lysosomes, to eh plasma membrane, or anywhere that they are needed. The term ‘reticulum’ refers a network and ‘endo’ is known to be inside or within the cytoplasm. This means that the endoplasmic reticulum is a series of intracytoplasmic, membrane bounded sacs that are interconnected.
There are basically two types of ER: the rough endoplasmic reticulum which is primarily covered with ribosomes and the smooth, which is not. The function of the rough is to synthesize proteins while the smooth is the site wherein the vesicles that carries the newly synthesized proteins (from the rough ER) are bounded off.
Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum Function
The main function of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum is to conduct numerous vital metabolic functions within the cell. Such function varies, depending on the specific cell type. When the smooth ER is not metabolizing compounds, it acts a storage site until metabolism starts again. Another essential smooth endoplasmic reticulum function is the detoxification of the compounds that are carried into the cell. A final but no less vital role of this is to package the newly created proteins. The smooth ER located in the liver cells metabolizes alcohol, which is a commonly ingested toxin.
The smooth endoplasmic reticulum appears to be a membrane that is folded upon itself, a feature that can greatly increase the surface area, allowing metabolic processes to happen without the need to take up excess space within the cell.