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Cell

The Golgi Body

Named for its discoverer, nineteenth century Italian scientist Camillo Golgi, the Golgi body is one of the most unusually shaped organelles. Looking somewhat like a stack of pancakes, the Golgi body consists of stacked, membrane-bounded, flattened sacs. Surrounding the Golgi body are numerous, small, membrane-bounded vesicles. The Golgi body and its vesicles function in the sorting, modifying, and packaging of macro-molecules that are secreted by the cell or used within the cell for various functions.

The Golgi body can be compared to the shipping and receiving department of a large company. Each Golgi body within a cell has a cis face, which is analogous to the receiving division of the department. Here, the Golgi body receives macromolecules synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum encased within vesicles. The trans face of the Golgi body is analogous to the shipping division of the department, and is the site from which modified and packaged macromolecules are transported to their destinations.

Within the Golgi body, various chemical groups are added to the macromolecules so ensure that they reach their proper destination. In this way, the Golgi body attaches an "address" to each macromolecule it receives. For example, cells called goblet cells in the lining of the intestine secrete mucous. The protein component of mucous, called mucin, is modified in the Golgi body by the addition of carbohydrate groups. From the Golgi body, the modified mucin is packaged within a vesicle. The vesicle containing its mucous cargo fuses with the plasma membrane of the goblet cell, and is released into the extracellular environment.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Categorical judgement to ChimaeraCell - Types Of Cells, Prokaryotes And Eukaryotes, Cell Size And Numbers, The Structure And Function Of Cells - The structure of eukaryotes, Plant organelles, Vacuoles, Cell wall