Endomembrane System of 
Eukaryotic Cells 


Eukaryotes are organisms composed of cells that have their genetic material surrounded a nuclear membrane, the nucleus, as well as a number of other membrane-bound organelles that carry out cellular functions.
Article Summary: A cell's endomembrane system consists of the rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, vesicles and plasma membrane, all working together to transport cellular materials.

Endomembrane System of Eukaryotic Cells
​Page last updated: 4/2016
Plasma Membrane
The plasma membrane is the structure separating the inside from the outside of the cell. It consists of a phospholipid bilayer, a double membrane composed of a unique type of lipid that spontaneously organizes into two layers. The plasma membrane controls traffic of materials into and out of the cell.

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum
Folding out of the nuclear envelope, the rough ER is a network of continuous sacs, studded with ribosomes. The rough ER manufactures, processes, and prepares proteins for transport.

Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum
Similar in appearance to rough ER, the smooth endoplasmic reticulum is also a network of continuous sacs, but without ribosomes attached. This organelle is involved in the production of lipids, further processing of proteins, carbohydrate metabolism, and detoxification of drugs and poisons.

Diagram of Endomembrane System of Eukaryotic Cell by Mariana Ruiz
Unlabeled Diagram of the Endomembrane System of Eukaryotic Cells

Watching the movement wax in a lava lamp is an excellent way to  understand how organelles of the  
eukaryotic endomembrane system work together to ship cellular materials.

Unlabeled Diagram of the Endomembrane System of Eukaryotic Cells
Instructor's Corner
Endomembrane System
The eukaryotic cell's endomembrane system is a network of organelles (like little organs) involved in manufacturing and material transport, allowing the cell to make, move and break down cellular products.

​The endomembrane system consists of the nuclear envelope, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the Golgi apparatus as well as the cell's plasma membrane, and includes the vesicles that bud off these membranes for intracellular transport (moving stuff around inside the cell), exocytosis (stuff leaving the cell) and endocytosis (stuff coming into the cell).

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Eukaryotic Cell Diagram and Function Homework Assignment
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Eukaryotic Cell Homework Assignment!
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Learn about Golgi Apparatus & Vesicles
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