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Traffic. 2008 Sep;9(9):1530-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2008.00784.x. Epub 2008 Jul 11.

The luminal domain of p23 (Tmp21) plays a critical role in p23 cell surface trafficking.

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Physiologische Genomik Physiologisches Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t, M√ľnchen, Germany.


p23 (Tmp21 or p24delta), a member of the p24 family, is important for maintaining the integrity of the secretory pathway in mammals. It is a type I protein with a receptor-like luminal domain and a short cytoplasmic tail. This cytoplasmic tail carries an atypical endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention KKXX motif that binds to coat protein I. The trafficking of p23 has been thought to be restricted to the early secretory pathway. However, recent findings as well as this study demonstrate that p23 is also found in the plasma membrane. By tagging different domains of p23 with green fluorescent protein, it is shown that it is the luminal domain that is primarily responsible for the appearance of p23 in the plasma membrane, despite the presence of a functional KKXX-ER retention and retrieval motif. When the KKXX motif is abolished, p23 shows an extremely increased trafficking to the plasma membrane. These experiments reveal the presence of two fractions of p23 with distinct trafficking destinations. One fraction cycles through the ER-Golgi pathway using its functional KKXX retrieval motif. The transient appearance of p23 in the plasma membrane is supported by the luminal domain. These results help to explain the functional presence of p23 in plasma membrane protein complexes and post-Golgi compartments.

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