Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum: Definition, Structure & Functions

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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:40 Structure
  • 1:10 Function
  • 1:55 Lesson Summary
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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 contain many parts. Each of these parts have specific functions to ensure the survival of living things. In this lesson, you will learn about the part of the cell known as the rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Definition of Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum

Cellular organelles are like tiny organs found in a cell that perform specific functions like the large organs in our bodies. The endoplasmic reticulum is a membrane system of folded sacs and interconnected channels that serves as a site for protein and lipid synthesis. The various folds of the endoplasmic reticulum provide a large surface where cellular functions can take place.

There are two types of endoplasmic reticulum: smooth and rough. Rough endoplasmic reticulum is a form of endoplasmic reticulum that is studded with ribosomes. Since it has ribosomes stuck all over it, it has a bumpy appearance and is therefore called rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Structure of Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum

Structurally, the rough endoplasmic reticulum looks like a pile of folded paper. It is composed of membranes that are folded into one another to provide maximum surface area for the cell to use. The membranes that make up the rough endoplasmic reticulum are composed of lipids just like the membrane that surrounds the entire cell itself. The surface of rough endoplasmic reticulum is dotted with other organelles known as ribosomes. Ribosomes are cellular organelles composed of two subunits that produce proteins.

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