The Golgi body (or apparatus) is the final stop for most of the proteins made within the cell before they head off to perform their intended function. The Golgi body looks like a series of flattened discs or pancakes.
New proteins are transported to the Golgi from the endoplasmic reticulum where they begin their journey through the factory line of the Golgi’s many discs. The Golgi attaches molecules to the proteins to make sure they end up at the right part of the cell. These molecules act like an address for the proteins. Without them, the proteins don’t end up in the right places and wouldn’t be able to perform their proper function. Some of the modifications include:
- Phosphorylation: The addition of a phosphate group to a protein.
- Glycosylation: The addition of complex sugars to a protein.
- Sulfation: The addition of sulfate groups to a protein.
Proteins get these different modifications as they move from one flattened disc in the Golgi body to another. When proteins leave the other side of the Golgi body, they are shipped in tiny bubble (vesicles) to different areas of the cell depending on their modifications (addresses).
The Golgi body is important in ensuring the proper delivery of proteins involved in may processes. These can include: release of antibodies by immune cells, release of neurotransmitters in neurons, and release of digestive enzymes in the digestive tract. The digestive enzymes are a good example of why the Golgi body is important. Without the proper modification (or address) these enzymes may end up in the wrong area and cause damage to your surrounding tissue, maybe even killing it.