The Endomembrane System: The Golgi Complex:
The Golgi complex (or Golgi bodies
or Golgi apparatus
) are often described as looking like stacked pancakes when viewed under a sufficiently powerful microscope.
The Golgi bodies are closely associated with the endoplasmic reticulum, and in fact, are formed by it. If the endoplasmic reticulum is the “factory” of a cell, where most cellular components are manufactured, the Golgi complex is the “finishing plant.” In the Golgi complex, molecules synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum are chemically altered into their final form and then packaged into small membranous structures called vesicles
. The vesicles then transport the finished molecules through the cytoplasm to other parts of the cell, or to the plasma membrane and out of the cell. (To continue the analogy, that would make the vesicles the “delivery trucks” of the cell.)
The Golgi complex of a cell. Incoming transport vesicles carry substances
from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi complex. When these vesicles
fuse with the Golgi complex, their contents are emptied into the Golgi complex.
The finished products are packaged into outgoing transport vesicles, which
transport substances to other parts of the cell, or to the outside of the cell.