Glossary Term: Vesicle

(Plural = Vesicles)

In cell biology, a vesicle is a small bubble within a cell, and thus a type of organelle. Enclosed by lipid bilayer, vesicles can form naturally, for example, during endocytosis. Alternatively, they may be prepared artificially, when they are called liposomes. If there is only one phospholipid bilayer, they are called unilamellar vesicles; otherwise they are called multilamellar. The membrane enclosing the vesicle is similar to that of the plasma membrane, and vesicles can fuse with the plasma membrane to release their contents outside of the cell. Vesicles can also fuse with other organelles within the cell. Vesicles perform a variety of functions. Because it is separated from the cytosol, the inside of the vesicle can be made to be different from the cytosolic environment. For this reason, vesicles are a basic tool used by the cell for organizing cellular substances. Vesicles are involved in metabolism, transport, buoyancy control, and enzyme storage. They can also act as chemical reaction chambers.

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Created: 2019-07-12 14:30:07 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2019-08-18 16:06:58 CDT (-0400)