Oct 072012

Golgi bodies are one of the important parts of a cell. They were first discovered or identified by Italian cytologist Camillo Golgi in the year 1898 A.D. He found them in the nerve cells of the barn owl and cat. Golgi bodies were variously named as Golgi bodies, Golgi material, Golgi apparatus, Golgi complex, Golgiosome, Golgi membrane according to the names of their discoverers. Golgi bodies occur in all eukaryotic cells except Red Blood Cells (R.B.C.) of some fungi, sperms cells of bryophytes and pteridophytes. The number of Golgi bodies may vary from a single to several hundreds in a single cell.

While talking about the structure of Golgi bodies, it is a complex structure that contains central plate-like cisternae or lamellae, peripheral network of tubules along with vesicles and vacuoles. The cisternae are a group of dense and flattened parallel sacs which are stacked one above the other. A Golgi apparatus usually contains four to seven or twelve or sometimes thirty or more cisternae. The main features of Golgi bodies are listed below:
  • All the cisternae are slightly curved which gives a concave or convex face.
  • Tubules form a flat network by arising from the peripheral area of the cisternae.
  • Vesicles are small flattened, round, oval or irregular sac-like structures attached to the tubules.
  • Vacuoles are the numerous, large and spacious, round sac-like or irregular structures which are generally found at the distal end of cisternae.

Functions of Golgi bodies
The functions of Golgi bodies are listed below:

  • The Golgi bodies form secretory vesicles which move to the surface of the cell and discharge the secretory molecules outside the cell.
  • After discharging the contents of the secretory vesicles, the membranes of secretory vesicles get incorporated into the plasma membrane. Due to this, the size of membrane slowly increases.
  • Golgi bodies store certain types of proteins and lipids in them.
  • Golgi bodies form a cell plate at the centre of the dividing cell during the cell division.
  • The materials of cell wall such as pectin, hemicellulose and micro-fibrils of α-cellulose are synthesized by Golgi apparatus. Therefore, they also help in the formation of cell wall of plant cell.
  • Golgi apparatus help in the secretion of hormones in endocrine cells.
  • Primary lysosome is formed by Golgi complex.