Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum vs. Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum: What's the Difference?

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Key Difference

The key difference between smooth endoplasmic reticulum and rough endoplasmic reticulum is that the smooth endoplasmic reticulum does not contain ribosomes on its surface while rough endoplasmic reticulum has ribosomes on its surface.

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Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum vs. Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum

A cell consists of a number of organelles. The endoplasmic reticulum is one of them and a most important organelle of the eukaryotic cell. It is located in both animal and plant cells. If we think that cell is a multitude of membranes than endoplasmic reticulum comprises the 50% of its membranous surface. It is a production, storage and transfer site for protein, lipid and hormones etc. An electron microscopic image of endoplasmic reticulum shows its two types of surfaces. One is of smooth type surface because it does not have ribosomes so known as smooth endoplasmic reticulum while other gives rough appearance due to the presence of ribosomes so known as the rough endoplasmic reticulum. So, these two are the different parts of the same organelle. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is involved in the production, storage and transfer of lipids and steroid hormones whereas rough endoplasmic reticulum is involved in the production, storage and transfer of protein. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is more tubular in structure and is found in the cytoplasm while rough endoplasmic reticulum is less tubular and found near the nuclear membrane.

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Comparison Chart

BasisSmooth Endoplasmic ReticulumRough Endoplasmic Reticulum
DefinitionThe part of the endoplasmic reticulum which does not contain ribosomes is known as the smooth endoplasmic reticulum.The part of the endoplasmic reticulum which contains ribosomes on its surface is known as rough endoplasmic reticulum.
AppearanceIt appears smooth.It shows a rough appearance due to the presence of ribosomes.
LocationIt is located in the cytoplasm.It is located near the nuclear membrane.
Structure.Smooth endoplasmic reticulum has a more tubular structure.Rough endoplasmic reticulum has a less tubular structure.
FunctionSmooth endoplasmic reticulum deals with the storage, transfer and metabolism of lipids and steroid hormones.Rough endoplasmic reticulum deals with the production, storage, transfer and metabolism of protein.
AbundanceSmooth endoplasmic reticulum is abundant in the cells that are concerned with lipid production.Rough endoplasmic reticulum is abundant in the cells that are concerned with protein production.
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What is Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum?

The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is a highly tubular structure and a part of the endoplasmic reticulum. It is present in both animal and plant cells and characterized by the absence of ribosomes. So, it has a smooth appearance. Its main function is the metabolism of lipids and steroid hormones. It also stores these molecules and plays an important role in their packing in the form of vesicles and then transfer them to different parts. So, smooth endoplasmic reticulum is found in abundance in the cells that are concerned with the lipid production, e.g. gland cells. It also plays a role in detoxifying the body from drugs and wastes that are produced during different metabolic activities. It is found in the cytoplasm.

What is Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum?

The rough endoplasmic reticulum is also a tubular structure but less tubular than smooth endoplasmic reticulum. It is also a part of endoplasmic reticulum and found in both plant and animal cells. It is characterized by the presence of ribosomes. So, it has a rough appearance. Its main function is the synthesis and metabolism of protein due to the presence of ribosomes on its surface. It also plays its role in the storage, packing and transfer of protein to different parts of the body according to its requirement. So, rough endoplasmic reticulum is found in abundance in the cells that are concerned with the protein production, e.g. liver cells. It is found near the nuclear membrane.

Key Differences

  1. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is a type of endoplasmic reticulum that does not have ribosomes on its surface while rough endoplasmic reticulum has ribosomes.
  2. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum has a smooth appearance whereas rough endoplasmic reticulum has a rough
  3. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum has a highly tubular structure while rough endoplasmic reticulum is less tubular than smooth endoplasmic reticulum.
  4. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is spread in the cytoplasm, but rough endoplasmic reticulum is located near the nuclear membrane.
  5. Smooth endoplasmic reticulum deals with the storage, transfer and metabolism of lipids and steroid hormones while rough endoplasmic reticulum deals with the production, storage, transfer and metabolism of protein.
  6. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum is abundant in lipid producing cells while rough endoplasmic reticulum is abundant in protein producing cells.

Comparison Video

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is concluded that Smooth endoplasmic reticulum is a highly tubular structure without ribosomes and deals with the metabolism and transfer of lipids and steroid hormones while rough endoplasmic reticulum is a less tubular structure with ribosomes on its surface and involves in the production, storage and transfer of protein.