Smooth endoplasmic reticulum

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The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is the part of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) which does not have ribosomes bound to it, thus not exhibiting the bumpy appearance shown by the rough endoplasmic reticulum. It can be found in many cell types and serves different functions in each.


It is from these smooth areas of the ER that vesicles bud off, transporting lipids, steroids and proteins to the Golgi apparatus and other parts of the cell. The majority of cells do not have much smooth ER, but cells that secrete these products for example those in the reproductive organs and skin oil glands have a much larger amount of smooth endoplasmic reticulum.[1] Other functions include metabolism of carbohydrates and steroids, and detoxification of drugs. Smooth ER can also contain enzymes such as glucose-6-phosphotase which is involved in gluconeogenosis.[2]

Examples of specialist smooth endoplasmic reticulum:

The hepatocyte cells of the liver, which produce lipid carrying lipoprotein particles, which must be transported around the body.

The sarcoplasmic reticulum of muscles is also a modified form of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum [3].


  1. "Functions of Smooth ER". University of Minnesota Duluth.
  2. Shibata, Yoko; Voeltz, Gia K.; Rapoport, Tom A. (2006). "Rough Sheets and Smooth Tubules"
  3. Alberts, Johnson, Lewis, Raff, Roberts, Walter (2008) Molecular Biology of The Cell, 5th Edition, Garland Science. Pages 724-725.
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