Select two cell structures. What hypothesis could you form to explain what would happen to the...


Select two cell structures. What hypothesis could you form to explain what would happen to the cell or the organism if each cell structure were damaged or destroyed?

Organelle health

There are an almost unlimited number of ways that the different organelles of the cell can be damaged, or at least have their normal function negatively affected. Some organelles are able to initiate corrective measures to save themselves and keep the cell healthy, but this does not always work.

Answer and Explanation: 1

Endoplasmic reticulum: If the ER were damaged, then a substantial portion of the protein synthesis, folding, and modification processes of the cell would be derailed. The result of such dysregulation of normal ER function has been well characterized in the phenomenon known as ER stress. ER stress describes an increased level of misfolded proteins in the ER lumen as compared to normal rates. When this occurs, the processes that normally deal with the occasional misfolded protein and maintain ER health become overwhelmed, and you end up with an accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER lumen that cannot move further down the secretory pathway. If ER stress cannot be rectified, then the cell ultimately commits to an apoptotic pathway and dies.

Mitochondria: When the mitochondrion is damaged, a similar end result may be expected. Mitochondria can be negatively affected by circumstances such as exposure to many reactive oxygen species, or calcium overload. When something like this occurs, the mitochondria, similar to the ER, has the capacity to initiate an apoptotic pathway that will result in the cell?s death, with the goal of sacrificing the single cell before the problem spreads to others.

Learn more about this topic:

The Cell: Structure & Function


Chapter 12 / Lesson 1

The cell is a small, but complex structure. Take a look inside the outer plasma membrane of a cell and discover the functions of some common cellular components, including the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and mitochondria, in this lesson.

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