What is a Golgi Body?
The Golgi body, also known as the Golgi apparatus, is an organelle found in most eukaryotic cells. It looks like a bunch of folded membranes or disks, and is usually located close to the endoplasmic reticulum.
In simple terms, you can imagine a Golgi body as the post office of the cell. It receives proteins and lipids from the endoplasmic reticulum, and then sorts and packages them into bubble-like structures called “vesicles”. Sometimes the Golgi body changes or condenses the proteins and lipids before packaging them.
In our post office metaphor, vesicles are like envelopes that are used to send molecules to different locations. Once molecules have been packaged into vesicles they may be stored for later use, sent somewhere inside the cell, or sent to the cellular membrane to be released outside of the cell. Cells that are responsible for secreting enzymes (like pancreas or liver cells) usually have very large, well-developed Golgi bodies to handle storage and exportation of so many molecules.
The Golgi body forms vesicles by pinching off part of its outer membrane. When a vesicle’s contents need to leave the cell, the vesicle fuses with the outer cell membrane and then opens to release its contents. This process is known as “exocytosis”.
Golgi bodies are also responsible for the creation of organelles called lysosomes. Lysosomes are basically the cell’s clean up crew. They break down captured viruses and bacteria and old organelles that are no longer useful to the cell. Lysosomes also serve digestion purposes by breaking down food particles so they can be used by mitochondria to generate energy.