Endoplasmic Reticulum: Definition & Functions

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Intermediate Filaments: Definition, Function & Structure

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition of…
  • 1:15 Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • 1:55 Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Cells are made of numerous organelles that perform specific functions. In this lesson, you will learn about the structure and functions of the endoplasmic reticulum.

Definition of Endoplasmic Reticulum

Have you ever worked in or visited a large factory? If so, you probably noticed that the largest and most important area of the factory is the production space where the products are assembled. In a cell, this production space is the surface of the endoplasmic reticulum. This is where numerous chemical reactions and processes take place. Without it, production would be closed down, and the cell factory would be out of business.

Cells have many organelles that work together to help them complete their life functions. One of those organelles is the endoplasmic reticulum, which is an interconnected network of membranes used to make proteins, steroids, and lipids located near the nucleus. The surface of the endoplasmic reticulum is basically a workspace for the cell. To maximize the amount of surface area that is available the membranes are folded tightly, rather than being one flat surface.

The endoplasmic reticulum is composed of sac-like structures called cisternae that are folded and bound together. There are two types of endoplasmic reticulum: smooth endoplasmic reticulum, which has a smooth folded surface, and rough endoplasmic reticulum which has a surface studded with ribosomes, making it appear bumpy.

In this diagram, number three points to rough endoplasmic reticulum. Number four points to smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and number five indicates a ribosome.
An image of endoplasmic reticulum.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account