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Old 09-22-2003, 05:08 PM
NinjaChick NinjaChick is offline
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How should I make me some Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum?

OK. I was tempted to put this in GQ, or MPSIMS, but decided here was most appropriate.

We're doing a wacky project for bio. We're making a plant cell. A big plant cell. A 3x3x3 meter plant cell. Each one of us gets to make a scale model of an organelle. I got stuck with everyone's favorite, the smooth endoplasmic reticulum. It's gotta look something like this, only without the ribosomes (little black dots in the pic). I've got about a half-meter cubed to fill.

So right now, I'm thinking that the easiest way to do this may be to just buy some modelling clay and mold it out like that. But you're all a creative bunch and my artistic forte falls more along the lines of music or at a stretch, cartooning, not building scale models of smooth endoplasmic reticulums (reticulii?). Any other ideas out there as to what I could do with this?
Old 09-22-2003, 05:12 PM
NinjaChick NinjaChick is offline
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note to self: preview button is there for a reason. Added to say that I've only got until Thursday (and yes, we did just get the assignment today, so save your lecture), so while suggestions involving overthrow of a small European principality in order to control their Giant Endoplasmic Reticulum Mines are welcome, please understand when I ignore them.

though overthrowing small European principalities is always fun...
Old 09-22-2003, 05:40 PM
Rabid_Squirrel Rabid_Squirrel is offline
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Cardboard or plastic sheeting for the membranes. Arranging it would be a bugger. What about using a hot glue gun and a cardboard backing? Curl up the sheet and glue it to one side of the backing, and then repeat on the other.

Cover the whole thing in a plastic sheet tightly for the outer membrane and poke holes in it for the proteins to escape. Then cut away at the outer covering to get a nice cut-away shot of the internal structure.

Failing that, you could resort to glue, spraypaint and maccaroni

And next on Blue Peter...
Old 09-22-2003, 06:02 PM
Rabid_Squirrel Rabid_Squirrel is offline
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Oh crap, just remembered something:

Depending on the detailed required at the HS level, the smooth ER isn't exactly the same as the rough ER. Better picture. Maybe tubes attached to the external membrane?
Old 09-22-2003, 06:54 PM
GilaB GilaB is offline
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Rabid Squirrel's link: here.

Bear in mind that it's continuous with the outer membrane of the nucleus, so you and the person doing the nuclear envelope might want to get together so your materials at least resemble each other. I basically think of it as a series of flattened tubes - maybe you could take a bunch of old panty hose and stuff them with something, then glue them together in a jumble-of-spaghetti-like way.
Old 09-22-2003, 08:31 PM
peri peri is offline
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Chicago
Posts: 953
Go to a craft store (Michael's, Hobby Lobby, etc.) and buy some wide wire-edged ribbon. It will fold easily and maintain whatever configuration you need. It is also extremely lightweight and can be glued in place easily.
Old 09-22-2003, 08:37 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Location: Montréal, Québec
Posts: 8,772
I don't know if you have these in your area, but our liquor store uses green plastic mesh-like tubes to put around bottles when packed together in a bag to prevent them from breaking. If you have a friendly enough store, you might be able to get (or buy) enough of these to tie them together. They could give you the tube-like shape, and a bit of gluegunning or even string could make it look like a continuous piece. You could use some sort of cloth to "fill" if you'd like.

Or how about a big piece of foam, bent back and forth a bunch of times? The foam could look like it has pores because it's full of holes, and you can probably get a large piece at a carpet store. Or one of those eggshell mattresses? That could work too.

Have you asked the person doing the rough ER what they plan on using? You might as well make them together, no?
Old 09-22-2003, 08:43 PM
Antigen Antigen is offline
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Location: was Montreal, now MD
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The smooth ER doesn't have ribosomes on it at all. It looks pretty much like a network of tubes, so maybe you could use cheap plastic pipes stuck together, or cardboard tubes, or chicken wire rolled into tubes. Maybe even blow up a bunch of those sausage-shaped balloons and tape them together.

And it's not continuous with the nuclear membrane... it's contunuous with the rough ER, and THAT is continuous with the nuclear membrane.
Old 09-22-2003, 08:45 PM
Antigen Antigen is offline
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Location: was Montreal, now MD
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But the picture you linked to is of the ROUGH ER... is it the smooth or the rough you have to do?
Old 09-23-2003, 07:27 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 42,033
Whenm I was a kid, I had a model of a cell. The endoplasmic reticulum was made of sheets of plastic.

You could try using sheets of plastic. Or maybe wax (you can get sheets of beeswax). In either case, you can mold it into the shape you want, and you'll have something translucent.

I always liked the sound of that name -- "Endoplasmic Reticulum". But it always made me wonder -- do ghosts have an Ectoplasmic Reticulum?
On weekends, Hogwarts had The Sorting Hat separate the laundry. It hated that.
Old 09-23-2003, 08:00 AM
slortar slortar is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
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Does anybody else think that a Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum would be a great name for a drink, or maybe a desert? (Two scoops vanilla ice cream, 1 cup crushed Oreos, 1 cup cream, blend)...


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