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At my school we are learning about the cell and the cell parts. My question is, after the Golgi complex takes out the bacteria and the bad things from the cell, where does it go next? Is there still more systems in our body that desteroy's bad things that comes out from the cell? Thank you.
Question Date: 2004-12-31
Answer 1:

The Golgi complex is definitely my favorite organelle -- what a cool name! Unfortunately, you've got things a little turned around.

The Golgi complex is involved in the chemical processing and folding of proteins. After proteins are assembled from amino acids on the ribosome, they enter the endoplasmic reticulum, where they get folded up into their proper shape. After that, some proteins are transferred to the Golgi apparatus, where bits of sugars and fats are added to the proteins and their final structure is completed.

The Golgi then packages proteins into vesicles and delivers them to other organelles or to the cell membrane.

Sometimes the Golgi might be involved in defending the cell against bacteria and toxins, but only indirectly. At lot of cells use protein receptors on the surface of their cell membrane to immobilize toxins or defend against bacteria. Multicellular animals with immune systems also secrete antibodies that immobilize toxins and pathogens. These protein receptors and antibodies are probably packaged by the Golgi.

There are other organelles that deal with bacteria and toxic stuff inside cells -- these are the lysosomes and peroxisomes. When the cell has some toxic waste to destroy, it bottles it up in a vesicle. The vesicle can then fuse with a lysosome or peroxisome, and the strong chemicals in those organelles will break down whatever was in the vesicle. Then the cell can either expel the waste, or reuse the digested bits.There are some cells in our body, called macrophages, that work for our immune system. The macrophages (the name is Greek for 'big eater') go around and eat up bacteria and other nasty pathogens in our bodies. Peroxisomes and lysosomes inside the macrophage then digest the bacteria. You should also know that when we get a bacterial infection, the bacteria are usually outside our cells, not inside our cells (there are a lot of spaces between the cells in our bodies where bacteria can hang out). The reason we get sick is because bacteria often make toxins that damage our cells. Usually the only time bacteria get inside our cells is when macrophages eat bacteria. On the other hand, viruses do get inside our cells, and they cause damage by taking over the cell, forcing it to make more viruses, then killing the cell. The way our body deals with viral infections is that a macrophage will eat a whole infected cell, then use peroxisomes and lysosomes to destroy the whole thing, including the virus. Wow, that was a long answer.

Answer 2:

Part of the Golgi apparatus is a set of special vacuoles called Lysosomes. These are membrane sacks that break off from the main Golgi apparatus, and they are filled with enzymes that break down other substances. When Lysosomes contain beneficial substances like nutrients or worn out cell parts that can be recycled, they break down those substances and make them available to the rest of the cell for use or re-use. When Lysosomes contain harmful substances like bacteria or poisons, they break down those substances too, then they move them out of the cell. Once those substances are out of the cell, they're usually not harmful anymore, because the enzymes in the Lysosomes have deactivated or destroyed them. Many scientists are working very hard to figure out how the Lysosomes can tell the difference between beneficial substances and harmful ones. Excellent question!

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