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J Cell Biol. 2001 Nov 12;155(4):557-70. Epub 2001 Nov 12.

Maintenance of Golgi structure and function depends on the integrity of ER export.

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  • 1Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The Golgi apparatus comprises an enormous array of components that generate its unique architecture and function within cells. Here, we use quantitative fluorescence imaging techniques and ultrastructural analysis to address whether the Golgi apparatus is a steady-state or a stable organelle. We found that all classes of Golgi components are dynamically associated with this organelle, contrary to the prediction of the stable organelle model. Enzymes and recycling components are continuously exiting and reentering the Golgi apparatus by membrane trafficking pathways to and from the ER, whereas Golgi matrix proteins and coatomer undergo constant, rapid exchange between membrane and cytoplasm. When ER to Golgi transport is inhibited without disrupting COPII-dependent ER export machinery (by brefeldin A treatment or expression of Arf1[T31N]), the Golgi structure disassembles, leaving no residual Golgi membranes. Rather, all Golgi components redistribute into the ER, the cytoplasm, or to ER exit sites still active for recruitment of selective membrane-bound and peripherally associated cargos. A similar phenomenon is induced by the constitutively active Sar1[H79G] mutant, which has the additional effect of causing COPII-associated membranes to cluster to a juxtanuclear region. In cells expressing Sar1[T39N], a constitutively inactive form of Sar1 that completely disrupts ER exit sites, Golgi glycosylation enzymes, matrix, and itinerant proteins all redistribute to the ER. These results argue against the hypothesis that the Golgi apparatus contains stable components that can serve as a template for its biogenesis. Instead, they suggest that the Golgi complex is a dynamic, steady-state system, whose membranes can be nucleated and are maintained by the activities of the Sar1-COPII and Arf1-coatomer systems.

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