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J Cell Biol. 2009 Jul 27;186(2):269-82. doi: 10.1083/jcb.200901021. Epub 2009 Jul 20.

Membrane proteins follow multiple pathways to the basolateral cell surface in polarized epithelial cells.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Newly synthesized apical and basolateral membrane proteins are sorted from one another in polarized epithelial cells. The trans-Golgi network participates in this sorting process, but some basolateral proteins travel from the Golgi to recycling endosomes (REs) before their surface delivery. Using a novel system for pulse-chase microscopy, we have visualized the postsynthetic route pursued by a newly synthesized cohort of Na,K-ATPase. We find that the basolateral delivery of newly synthesized Na,K-ATPase occurs via a pathway distinct from that pursued by the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G). Na,K-ATPase surface delivery occurs at a faster rate than that observed for VSV-G. The Na,K-ATPase does not pass through the RE compartment en route to the plasma membrane, and Na,K-ATPase trafficking is not regulated by the same small GTPases as other basolateral proteins. Finally, Na,K-ATPase and VSV-G travel in separate post-Golgi transport intermediates, demonstrating directly that multiple routes exist for transport from the Golgi to the basolateral membrane in polarized epithelial cells.

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