The Endoplasmic ReticulumFundamentals and Role in Disease

Published October 2007 Updated October 2014 12 lectures
Prof. Marek Michalak
University of Alberta, Canada

The endoplasmic reticulum is a network of tubules, vesicles and sacs that are interconnected. The endoplasmic reticulum plays a vital role in many cellular processes, including Ca storage and release, lipid synthesis, protein synthesis, folding and posttranslational modification, production of steroids, storage and production of glycogen, and insertion of membrane... read moreproteins.

The endoplasmic reticulum contains many proteins which carry out these diverse functions. Work in the last few years has led to increased appreciation of the role of the endoplasmic reticulum in modulation of virtually every cellular function under normal and pathological conditions. The pathologies of many serious human diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease, are thought to develop from impaired function of the endoplasmic reticulum, especially its role in protein folding. Furthermore, the endoplasmic reticulum is centrally located in many apoptotic pathways and communicates with other organelles including the nucleus.