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Trends Cell Biol. 1999 May;9(5):174-9.

Lipid regulators of membrane traffic through the Golgi complex.

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Dept of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75235-9038, USA.


Enzymes that modify phospholipids play necessary, but poorly understood, roles in constitutive membrane traffic. Local production of specific phosphoinositides is required for endocytosis and regulated exocytosis, and enzymes that produce and consume phosphoinositides are components of post-Golgi membrane vesicles. Both biochemical and genetic data indicate that regulation of the membrane content of phosphatidic acid, diacylglycerol and phosphoinositides is necessary for protein traffic from the Golgi complex. Evidence for a regulatory role for lipids earlier in the constitutive secretory pathway is more limited and controversial. Although the mechanisms that regulate traffic between the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi might be qualitatively different from those that control later membrane transport pathways, recent studies suggest that production of specific lipids is important for transport both into and out of the Golgi. As discussed in this article, one potential mechanism for the involvement of lipids is to control the GTPase cycle of a small GTP-binding protein, ARF (ADP-ribosylation factor).

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