A long, thin, layered organelle in eukaryotic cells that acts as a distribution center for products sent to it by the ER (endoplasmic reticulum). The Golgi apparatus modifies some of the products which pass through it before they are sent to their final destination in the cell.

     One of the most critical products processed, packaged and distributed by the Golgi Complexes is new material for the membranes of the cell and its organelles. Membrane lipids and proteins, synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum, are delivered to the Golgi complex in vesicles that fuse with it. Within the cisternae of the Golgi complex, the final assembly of carbohydrates with proteins (forming glycoproteins) and with lipids (forming glycolipids) occurs; these carbohydrate combinations found on the surface of cell membranes are thought to play key roles in membrane function. Current evidence indicates that different stages in this chemical processing occur in different cisternae of the Golgi complex, and that materials are transported from one cisternae to the next via vesicles. After that chemical processing is completed, the new membrane material is packaged in vesicles that are targeted to the correct location, whether it be the cell membrane or the membrane of a particular organelle. In plant cells, Golgi complexes also bring together some of the components of the cell walls and export them to the cell surface where they are assembled.

And now for something completely different:

I look into the finance box just to check my status
I look into the microscope, see Golgi Apparatus
Golgi, oh, woe is me, you can't even see the sea
Golgi, olgi, oh ooo olgi Golgi

They call him Lysasome cause he runs so fast
Runs like a junkyard dog with a brain of brass
Golgi, oh, woe is me, you can't even see the sea
Golgi, olgi, oh ooo olgi Golgi

I saw you with a ticket stub in your hand
Under the light, middle of the night
Couldn't get it wrong so I had to...

-Phish, Golgi Apparatus

In my freshman year of high school, I had a biology teacher who was very brilliant but simultaneously very nutty. He had a bizarre mnemonic for every basic biological process you can imagine. He made us memorize the formula for photosynthesis and respiration by singing it. That's how nutty he was. (I won't complain, because I got a 4 on the AP exam three years later, mostly because of what I still remembered from his class.)

This guy collected lava lamps in one corner of the classroom; he had about five. He didn't explain the lava lamps until halfway through the semester, when we were learning about cells.

"You see," he said, "I went to Spencer's Gifts one day" (and I can't imagine what kind of crazy stuff he intended to get there) "and saw the lava lamps on one wall. And you know the first thing that came into my mind?" (pause for dramatic effect) "GOLGI BODY!" he shouted, causing the first row to jump out of their seats slightly.

He then proceeded to dim the lights and fire up one of the lava lamps. "Imagine, if you will, that the bottom of the lamp is the outside of the cell, and the top of the lamp is the inside of the cell."

As he was saying this, the blob of wax in the middle of the lava lamp was morphing about, and we could see exactly what he was talking about. A big chunk of molten wax would break off, float to the bottom, come back up, merge with the rest of the blob, re-emerge on top, and float to the top of the lamp before coming down again.

Never before or since had cellular function ever seemed so tangible to me or to the rest of us. So now, when I hear the word "Golgi," I can't help but think of that crazy guy and his lava lamps. Which, I suppose, is what makes someone a truly great teacher.

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