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Semin Cell Biol. 1992 Oct;3(5):325-41.

Subcompartments of the endoplasmic reticulum.

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Chicago Medical School, IL 60064.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the largest continuous endomembrane structure in the cytoplasm. It may be viewed as a series of unique subcompartments. In this review, we examine the rough ER, nuclear envelope and several smooth ER subcompartments. Consideration is given to the characteristic properties and functions of the ER and its domains, and to the formation and maintenance of subcompartments. Associations within the ER membrane bilayer, and with constituents of the cytoplasm and the ER lumen, contribute to the formation of domains and lead to the establishment of subcompartments that reflect specialized functions and vary according to the physiologic state and phenotype of the individual cell. Although the structural complexity of some ER subcompartments (such as the sarcoplasmic reticulum) is highly elaborate, the ER remains a dynamic organelle, subject to assembly and disassembly, capable of extensive remodelling and active in exchange with other organelles through mechanisms of membrane transport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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