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Cell. 1999 Jul 9;98(1):81-90.

Vesicular tubular clusters between the ER and Golgi mediate concentration of soluble secretory proteins by exclusion from COPI-coated vesicles.

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Department of Cell Biology, University Medical Center and Institute of Biomembranes, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


We have determined the concentrations of the secretory proteins amylase and chymotrypsinogen and the membrane proteins KDELr and rBet1 in COPII- and COPI-coated pre-Golgi compartments of pancreatic cells by quantitative immunoelectron microscopy. COPII was confined to ER membrane buds and adjacent vesicles. COPI occurred on vesicular tubular clusters (VTCs), Golgi cisternae, the trans-Golgi network, and immature secretory granules. Both secretory proteins exhibited a first, significant concentration step in noncoated segments of VTC tubules and were excluded from COPI-coated tips. By contrast, KDELr and rBet1 showed a first, significant concentration in COPII-coated ER buds and vesicles and were prominently present in COPI-coated tips of VTC tubules. These data suggest an important role of VTCs in soluble cargo concentration by exclusion from COPI-coated domains.

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