In vitro reconstitution is among the most important and widely used strategies in studying membrane traffic [1]. We describe here an in vitro assay which allows study of the reconstitution of rat liver endoplasmic reticulum. Membrane derivatives of liver endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are incubated under specific conditions leading to membrane fusion and the formation of large ER membrane complexes. Following incubation the reconstituted ER membranes are studied by electron microscopy. Depending on the type of ER derivative (i.e. rough or smooth?) used in the reconstitution assay the assembly products will exhibit different structural properties and can be distinguished based on morphological criteria. Examples are described below.

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