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Histochem Cell Biol. 2008 Feb;129(2):129-51. Epub 2007 Dec 4.

Assembly, organization, and function of the COPII coat.

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Cell Biology Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry, University of Bristol, School of Medical Sciences, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


A full mechanistic understanding of how secretory cargo proteins are exported from the endoplasmic reticulum for passage through the early secretory pathway is essential for us to comprehend how cells are organized, maintain compartment identity, as well as how they selectively secrete proteins and other macromolecules to the extracellular space. This process depends on the function of a multi-subunit complex, the COPII coat. Here we describe progress towards a full mechanistic understanding of COPII coat function, including the latest findings in this area. Much of our understanding of how COPII functions and is regulated comes from studies of yeast genetics, biochemical reconstitution and single cell microscopy. New developments arising from clinical cases and model organism biology and genetics enable us to gain far greater insight in to the role of membrane traffic in the context of a whole organism as well as during embryogenesis and development. A significant outcome of such a full understanding is to reveal how the machinery and processes of membrane trafficking through the early secretory pathway fail in disease states.

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