AAT Bioquest

What is the Difference Between Golgi Apparatus and Endoplasmic Reticulum?

Posted May 9, 2022


Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum are two crucial cell organelles present in eukaryotic cells. They perform vital but different functions for the survival of the cells. 

Basis of DifferentiationGolgic ApparatusEndoplasmic Reticulum
What it isIs a prominent cell organelle that exists as an arrangement of a few fluid-filled discs covered by a membrane similar to the cell membraneIs a vital cell organelle that exists as a network of vesicles and tubules
TypesOnly one type of Golgi apparatus 

Two types of Endoplasmic Reticulum: Rough ER (RER) -Ribosomes on its external surface give it a rough appearance under the microscope; Smooth ER (SER) - has no ribosomes on its surface, which gives it a smooth appearance under the microscope

  • Involved in processing of glycoproteins, lipid metabolism, and formation of enzyme-filled lysosomes
  • Sorts, modifies, packages, and delivers cells synthesized through various biochemical processes and delivers them to the right place at the right time
  • Provides a site for carbohydrate synthesis 
  • Responsible for folding and processing membranes, secreted and transmembrane proteins, synthesizing membrane lipids or their precursors, and lipid metabolism
  • Smooth ER is involved in lipid metabolism
  • Rough ER provides sites for protein synthesis
  • Rough ER acts as a plasma membrane reserve for cells and organelles, filling in the gaps when there is cell membrane damage
Intracellular LocationIs located in the cytoplasm in close proximity to the Rough ER and the nucleus but is not directly linked to the nucleus. 

Density of Rough ER is greater near the nucleus with section of its surface appearing continuous with the cell’s nuclear envelope; Smooth ER are evenly distributed throughout the cell

Relationship with nucleusNot directly associated with the nucleusPart of the Rough ER surface is an extension of the nuclear envelope
SizeComparatively smaller than ERLargest organelle in the eukaryotic cells
Nature of cisternaeCisternae are not interconnected Cisternae are interconnected with each other, facilitating the transport of macromolecules throughout the cell 
Ribosomes No ribosomes present on the surfaceMembrane bound ribosomes are present on the surface of Rough ER, giving the surface its distinctive rough appearance
Relationship with lysosomesInvolved in the production of lysosomesRER is involved in the synthesis of lysosomal hydrolases
Types of vesicles Has secretory vesiclesHas COPII-coated transport vesicles
Relationship with proteinsReceives matured proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum and packages them before transportation to their respective destinations Carries out post translational modifications of proteins, which are then  transported into the Golgi apparatus for packaging and transporting 
Transportation of proteinsForms secretory vesicles that transport sorted proteins to their eventual destinationsTransports matured proteins to Golgi apparatus using small transport vesicles known as COPII-coated transport vesicles
Additional resources

Sorting and retrieval between the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus

Cell Navigator™ TMR Ceramide Golgi Staining Kit *Red Fluorescence*

Cell Navigator™ Live Cell Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) Staining Kit *Red Fluorescence*