The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a large, singular, membrane-bound organelle that has an elaborate 3D structure with a diversity of structural domains. It contains regions that are flat and cisternal, ones that are highly curved and tubular, and others adapted to form contacts with nearly every other organelle and with the plasma membrane. The 3D structure of the ER is determined by both integral ER membrane proteins and by interactions with the cytoskeleton. In this review, we describe some of the factors that are known to regulate ER structure and discuss how this structural organization and the dynamic nature of the ER membrane network allow it to perform its many different functions.
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