Categories: Anatomy; cellular biology
The endomembrane system is a collective term applied to all of the membranes in a cell that are either connected with or are derived from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), including the plasma membrane but not the membranes of chloro-plasts or mitochondria. The membrane-bound organelles considered to be part of the endomembrane system are the vacuole, nuclear envelope, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi complex, and various types of vacuoles.
Some components of the endomembrane system have direct, permanent connections with the endomembrane system (such as between the endoplasmic reticulum and the nuclear envelope), whereas other components share membrane and contents by trafficking vesicles (membrane-bound packages) from one component to another (for example, the ER sends numerous vesicles to the Golgi complex) across the cytosol. The endomembrane system is responsible for processing, sorting, and packaging membrane material, proteins embedded in membranes, and large water-soluble molecules (such as proteins or carbohydrates), either for export from the cell (called exocytosis) or for use within the cell. The endoplasmic reticulum is the ultimate source of all the membranes of the endo-membrane system.
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