The endoplasmic reticulum: structure, function and response to cellular signaling

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2016 Jan;73(1):79-94. doi: 10.1007/s00018-015-2052-6. Epub 2015 Oct 3.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a large, dynamic structure that serves many roles in the cell including calcium storage, protein synthesis and lipid metabolism. The diverse functions of the ER are performed by distinct domains; consisting of tubules, sheets and the nuclear envelope. Several proteins that contribute to the overall architecture and dynamics of the ER have been identified, but many questions remain as to how the ER changes shape in response to cellular cues, cell type, cell cycle state and during development of the organism. Here we discuss what is known about the dynamics of the ER, what questions remain, and how coordinated responses add to the layers of regulation in this dynamic organelle.

Keywords: Fertilization; Interphase; Mitosis; Organization; Phosphorylation; Unfolded protein response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / chemistry
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure*
  • Fertilization
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Mitosis
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Protein Folding
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Unfolded Protein Response


  • Proteins
  • Calcium