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J Biol Chem. 1996 Sep 6;271(36):21767-74.

Intracellular distribution of Arf proteins in mammalian cells. Arf6 is uniquely localized to the plasma membrane.

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Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322-3050, USA.


Subcellular distributions of the five human Arf proteins were examined, using a set of isoform-specific polyclonal and a pan-Arf monoclonal antibodies. Subcellular fractionation of cultured mammalian cells allowed the demonstration that Arf6 is uniquely localized to the plasma membranes of Chinese hamster ovary cells. The plasma membrane distrubution was unaffected by either GTPgammaS (guanosine 5'-O-(3-thio)triphosphate) or brefeldin A, an activator and inhibitor of Arf activities, respectively. In contrast, Arf proteins 1, 3, 4, and 5 were predominantly cytosolic but could be recruited to a variety of intracellular membranes, but not plasma membranes, upon incubation in the presence of GTPgammaS. The GTPgammaS-promoted binding of the cytosolic Arf proteins to membranes was blocked by brefeldin A. The stable association of Arf6 with plasma membranes and the insensitivity of its localization to either GTPgammaS or brefeldin A revealed a clear distinction between Arf6 and the other Arf isoforms. Localization of Arf6 to the plasma membrane suggests a unique cellular role for this isoform at the plasma membrane, but failure to find endogenous Arf6 on endocytic structures, including clathrin-coated vesicles, appears inconsistent with the proposed role of Arf6 in assembly of coat structures or endosomes in transfected fibroblasts (1,2).

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