Endoplasmic reticulum composition and form: Proteins in and out

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2021 Aug;71:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2021.01.008. Epub 2021 Feb 19.


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is the main harbor for newly synthesized proteins in eukaryotic cells. Through a continuous membrane network of sheets and tubules, the ER hosts secretory proteins, integral membrane proteins, and luminal proteins of the endomembrane system. These proteins are translated by ribosomes outside the ER and require subsequent integration into or translocation across the lipid bilayer of the ER. They are then modified post-translationally and folded in the ER. Some of these proteins are packaged into coat protein complex II-coated vesicles for export. Here, we review recent advances in understanding the mechanism of protein translocation and transmembrane domain insertion in the ER, summarize new insights into selective cargo packaging, and discuss the roles of ER morphological dynamics in these processes.

Keywords: COPII; Cargo receptor; Endoplasmic reticulum; Membrane insertion; Protein translocation; Retrotranslocation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COP-Coated Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum* / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Transport


  • Membrane Proteins