What Is The Function Of Vesicles?

This article will cover all the functions of vesicles and what they are used for within the cell with examples.

What Is The Function Of Vesicles?

The functions of vesicles are transporting any substances that are within the cell. They are also responsible for phagocytizing any harmful materials that could be inside the cell.

While these are just the basic functions, to fully understand how vesicles work keep reading to find out how they work and more detail on how they do it!


Vesicles are classified as small cell organelles, and they are present within different types of cells.

These types of organelles are very small and are sacs that are enclosed in a membrane and are used to store and move particular substances from one to into another one or from a certain part of a cell to a different part.

Because of this they are vital to the function of many cells and are one of the most important parts.

A vesicle within a cell is separated within the cytoplasm by at least 1 phospholipid bilayer, this is the membrane which is used for a vesicle and is quite similar to the plasma membrane certain other cells or organelles utilize.

This makes it, so vesicles are capable of fusing to plasma membrane when it is time for them to release any of their contents outside their cell. In spite of this, vesicles are able to fuse to another organelle that could be present within the cell.

This is used to either release or maybe engulf other substances. Because of this, the particular function of a vesicle is dependent on what else is in the cell and what type of vesicle is present.

The next section will cover the different types of vesicles and what the function of each of them is.

Different Functions Of Different Types Of Vesicles


Lysosomes are a type of vesicle that is a specialized organelle which holds digestive enzymes and these are used to break down any substances inside a cell to make them into smaller molecules.

These organelles are exclusively present within animal cells so because of this, their function is different when compared to those that are within plant cells.

The structure of lysosomes is a small sac that has a typical single layer membrane. These organelles are what is primarily involved in the process of cellular digestion.

Because of this, the function of lysosome focuses on getting rid of any harmful substances that could be within cells using the process of endocytosis and this is achieved through the process of phagocytosis.


Compared to lysosomes, vacuoles are an organelle which is mainly only present within fungal and plant cells, however it is present in some select bacterial and animal cells.

However, it is still considered one of the most prominent and defining features of a typical plant cell.

This type of organelle is typically filled with a fluid which will contains enzymes that are held inside a solution.

These vacuoles are mainly responsibly for isolating any materials that are from a cell and that could be potentially harmful to it, as well as containing waste products that are within them.

Vacuoles are an autophagic type of vesicle which means that its function as a cell organelle is focused on ingesting as well as destroying any bacteria that are invading the cell.

Finally, vacuoles are also responsible for keeping the turgor pressure within the cell as well as maintaining its pH value.

Transport Vesicles

Transport vesicles are defined as vesicles that are bound in a membrane that are just made of secreted proteins. They are made on ribosomes, and they are found within the rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Most of the proteins that these are made of will mature within the Golgi apparatus before they finally reach their last location, which could be lysosomes, peroxisomes, or maybe some location that is outside its cell. 

The proteins get carried between locations by the transport vesicles being carried inside them. And this is why the name of the cell is a transport vesicle.

They are responsible for moving molecules between locations that are inside the cell. This is one of the more common roles of a vesicle.

Secretory Vesicles

This type of vesicle, as the name suggests, is a type of vesicle which holds a material that will inevitably be secreted from the home cell.

Because of this, this type of vesicle can contain materials that are potentially harmful to the cell and have to be designed to withstand this.

These potentially harmful substances could include waste products that need to be secreted, or perhaps the end product, or byproduct of a reaction which has happened within the cytoplasm of the cell and now needs to be discarded.

In spite of the secretory vesicle being needed to get rid of these substances due to their potentially harmful nature within the cell, what they secrete could in fact be useful to other parts of the body meaning that they are useful not just for the cell but other areas which rely on their secretions.

There are many different types and versions of secretory vesicles, a key example of these being synaptic vesicles. Synaptic vesicles are located within the pre-synaptic terminals that are located in neurons.

For this particular type of secretory vesicle, the organelle’s function is to store the particular neurotransmitters.

These hormones are then secreted by the endocrine glands which are stored by the secretory vesicle and are subsequently released into the bloodstream.

As well as these types of vesicles, there are also more specialized versions of vesicles that are only present within particular cells.

A specific example of this is seminal vesicles that are located in men’s postero-inferior inside the urinary bladder.

The vesicles contain a large portion of the fluid that becomes semen. The function of a vesicle nearly always depends on the type of cell it is within.

Jennifer Dawkins

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