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Cell. 2008 Aug 8;134(3):474-84. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.06.024.

Structural basis for cargo regulation of COPII coat assembly.

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National Resource for Automated Molecular Microscopy, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Using cryo-electron microscopy, we have solved the structure of an icosidodecahedral COPII coat involved in cargo export from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) coassembled from purified cargo adaptor Sec23-24 and Sec13-31 lattice-forming complexes. The coat structure shows a tetrameric assembly of the Sec23-24 adaptor layer that is well positioned beneath the vertices and edges of the Sec13-31 lattice. Fitting the known crystal structures of the COPII proteins into the density map reveals a flexible hinge region stemming from interactions between WD40 beta-propeller domains present in Sec13 and Sec31 at the vertices. The structure shows that the hinge region can direct geometric cage expansion to accommodate a wide range of bulky cargo, including procollagen and chylomicrons, that is sensitive to adaptor function in inherited disease. The COPII coat structure leads us to propose a mechanism by which cargo drives cage assembly and membrane curvature for budding from the ER.

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