Sorting proteins to the rough endoplasmic reticulum

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The ER acts as an intracellular store of Ca2+ ions, which are used in cell signalling. The ER membrane is the site of production for nearly all of the transmembrane proteins, and lipids, for all of the cell’s organelles.

There are two mechanisms of the transport of proteins into the ER.

Ribosomes bind to the ER membrane during co-translational translocation[1]. By contrast, cytosolic ribosomes complete the synthesis of a protein and release it prior to post-translational translocation. In both cases, the protein is directed to the ER by an ER signal sequence[2].

The ER captures selected proteins from the cytosol as they are being synthesised. There are two types of these proteins:

Transmembrane proteins and water-soluble proteins:


  1. Chapter 10, pages 385-397; 403-406
  2. Alberts.B et al, (Sixth Edition); Molecular Biology of the Cell; Taylor and Francis Group
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