Q:

What does the smooth endoplasmic reticulum do?

A:

The smooth endoplasmic reticulum, or smooth ER, performs functions in several metabolic processes, including synthesis of steroids, lipids and phospholipids, as well as the metabolism of carbohydrates, elimination of drugs from the system and attachment of receptors to cell membrane proteins. Both the smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum form an organelle in eukaryotic organisms creating a network of tubes or sacs called cisternae, but it is the smooth endoplasmic reticulum that helps the body eliminate a number of toxins.

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One of the major benefits of smooth ER is its ability to turn many organic chemicals into safe products that are soluble in water. The liver cells contain a great deal of smooth ER, where it serves to remove toxins from products of natural metabolism. It also removes from the system excess ethanol, which comes from excessive consumption of alcohol, as well as barbiturates ingested by drug users. To perform these functions more efficiently, the smooth ER has the ability to double its total surface area in a matter of several days, going back to its original size after the end of the attack. Smooth ER also helps break glycogen granules on the external surface into glucose. It also produces steroid hormones within the endocrine glands and the adrenal cortex.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the two types of endoplasmic reticulum?

    A:

    The two types of endoplasmic reticulum are rough and smooth. The rough endoplasmic reticulum gets its name from the ribosomes covering its surface; these give it a rough appearance. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum does not have ribosomes on its surface, hence its name.

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  • Q:

    What is the function of endoplasmic reticulum?

    A:

    In addition to other jobs, the endoplasmic reticulum creates and folds proteins and then carries these synthesized substances to the Golgi apparatus via the vesicles. The endoplasmic reticulum also executes sorting activities for the cell's proteins. However, the precise duties carried out by the endoplasmic reticulum vary by both species and cell type.

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  • Q:

    What is the function of the rough endoplasmic reticulum?

    A:

    The rough endoplasmic reticulum is an organelle that produces proteins and helps them fold properly. Cells also have a smooth endoplasmic reticulum that processes fats and steroid hormones.

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  • Q:

    Who discovered the endoplasmic reticulum?

    A:

    The endoplasmic reticulum was discovered in 1945 by researchers Ernest Fullman, Keith Porter and Albert Claude. The endoplasmic reticulum is separated into two categories. The parts of the organelle with ribosomes on the surface are called rough and areas without ribosomes are smooth.

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