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Bioessays. 2014 Feb;36(2):129-33. doi: 10.1002/bies.201300131. Epub 2013 Nov 18.

Integrated self-organization of transitional ER and early Golgi compartments.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


COPII coated vesicles bud from an ER domain termed the transitional ER (tER), but the mechanism that clusters COPII vesicles at tER sites is unknown. tER sites are closely associated with early Golgi or pre-Golgi structures, suggesting that the clustering of nascent COPII vesicles could be achieved by tethering to adjacent membranes. This model challenges the prevailing view that COPII vesicles are clustered by a scaffolding protein at the ER surface. Although Sec16 was proposed to serve as such a scaffolding protein, recent data suggest that rather than organizing COPII into higher-order structures, Sec16 acts at the level of individual COPII vesicles to regulate COPII turnover. A plausible synthesis is that tER sites are created by tethering to Golgi membranes and are regulated by Sec16. Meanwhile, the COPII vesicles that bud from tER sites are thought to nucleate new Golgi cisternae. Thus, an integrated self-organization process may generate tER-Golgi units.


COPII; ER exit sites; Golgi; self-organization; transitional ER

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