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Secretory Vesicles

Secretory vesicles are bubble-like organelles that store and remove substances from the cell. Most vesicles have very specific jobs and materials that they transport.

Illustration of a secretory vesicles removing molecules from a cell

What Do Secretory Vesicles Do?

Illustration of a synaptic vesicle

Nerve cells (neurons) use synaptic vesicles to store and release chemical signals.

Secretory vesicles transport chemical cargo that needs to be removed from the cell. This cargo can either be harmful waste products or useful products, like hormones. Secretory vesicles in different types of cells are responsible for carrying different substances.
For instance, in the nervous system, nerve cells (neurons) use a type of secretory vesicle called a synaptic vesicle. These vesicles store and release chemical signals, that move quickly between neurons.
Whereas, vesicles in endocrine cells store and release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones are what give us our emotions.
The golgi apparatus packages materials into the secretory vesicles for storage and transportation. Neural or hormonal signals tell them when it is time to release the materials they are carrying. The vesicles then carry the substances from an organelle to the cell membrane.
The vesicles dock at and fuse with the cell membrane because they are made of the same material. When the two fuse, the chemicals inside the vesicle spill out into space outside of the cell. This process is called exocytosis. Once the vesicle has delivered the substance out of the cell, it separates from the membrane again and goes back into the cytoplasm.

Why Do We Need Secretory Vesicles?

Secretory vesicles transport and store chemicals that deliver messages all through your body. These chemicals tell your body what to do and when to do it. If we couldn’t get them from one cell to another, your body wouldn’t know what to do. Such as when to sleep, how to move your muscles, or when you’ve had enough to eat!
They can also act like a garbage disposal system. They remove useless waste products that your cells no longer need. This keeps the inside of the cells clean and working properly. If cells are not cleaned well and waste builds up, some diseases, like Alzheimer’s, can happen. Secretory vesicles make sure that your cells are always communicating and always clean.
Written by: Ocheze Amuzie