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J Cell Biol. 2013 Jun 24;201(7):1027-36. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201211147. Epub 2013 Jun 17.

The dynamics of engineered resident proteins in the mammalian Golgi complex relies on cisternal maturation.

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Instituto di Biochimica delle Proteine, Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche, 80131 Naples, Italy.


After leaving the endoplasmic reticulum, secretory proteins traverse several membranous transport compartments before reaching their destinations. How they move through the Golgi complex, a major secretory station composed of stacks of membranous cisternae, is a central yet unsettled issue in membrane biology. Two classes of mechanisms have been proposed. One is based on cargo-laden carriers hopping across stable cisternae and the other on "maturing" cisternae that carry cargo forward while progressing through the stack. A key difference between the two concerns the behavior of Golgi-resident proteins. Under stable cisternae models, Golgi residents remain in the same cisterna, whereas, according to cisternal maturation, Golgi residents recycle from distal to proximal cisternae via retrograde carriers in synchrony with cisternal progression. Here, we have engineered Golgi-resident constructs that can be polymerized at will to prevent their recycling via Golgi carriers. Maturation models predict the progress of such polymerized residents through the stack along with cargo, but stable cisternae models do not. The results support the cisternal maturation mechanism.

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