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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2005 Aug;17(4):362-8.

Endoplasmic reticulum: one continuous network compartmentalized by extrinsic cues.

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Division of Cell Biology, Institute of Ophthalmology, 11-43 Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an extensive three-dimensional network that stretches from the inner nuclear envelope to the cell cortex with a single, continuous membrane and a single, continuous lumen. Yet the ER contains specialized regions that carry out unique functions. The question that immediately arises is how the ER can be compartmentalized if it is continuous, and the answer to this is that cellular landmarks with unique sub-cellular distributions impose non-uniformity on the ER from outside, creating structural and functional sub-domains of the ER.

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