Very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles are packaged by the Golgi apparatus into vacuoles which move to the plasma membrane and empty the particles into the space of Disse, via exocytosis. Traditionally, all lipoprotein-containing cisternae and vacuoles are thought to be parts of this pathway. Observations reported here demonstrate that there is a second population of lipoprotein-containing cisternae and vacuoles. This population is part of GERL, an organelle we consider to be a specialized hydrolase-rich region of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). To our knowledge, this is the first systematic study of GERL in normal rat hepatocytes.

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