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      Multisubunit assembly of an integral plasma membrane channel protein, gap junction connexin43, occurs after exit from the ER.

      Cell
      Animals, Anti-Bacterial Agents, pharmacology, Brefeldin A, Cell Line, Centrifugation, Density Gradient, Connexin 43, biosynthesis, isolation & purification, Cyclopentanes, Endoplasmic Reticulum, drug effects, metabolism, Fibroblasts, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Golgi Apparatus, Kidney, Macromolecular Substances, Methionine, Oocytes, Protein Processing, Post-Translational, RNA, Rats, Sulfur Radioisotopes, Xenopus

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          Abstract

          Connexin43 (Cx43) is an integral plasma membrane protein that forms gap junctions between vertebrate cells. We have used sucrose gradient fractionation and chemical cross-linking to study the first step in gap junction assembly, oligomerization of Cx43 monomers into connexon channels. In contrast with other plasma membrane proteins, multisubunit assembly of Cx43 was specifically and completely blocked when endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-to-Golgi transport was inhibited by 15 degrees C incubation, carbonyl cyanide m-chloro-phenylhydrazone, or brefeldin A or in CHO cell mutants with temperature-sensitive defects in secretion. Additional experiments indicated that connexon assembly occurred intracellularly, most likely in the trans-Golgi network. These results describe a post-ER assembly pathway for integral membrane proteins and have implications for the relationship between membrane protein oligomerization and intracellular transport.

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          Protein folding in the cell.

          In the cell, as in vitro, the final conformation of a protein is determined by its amino-acid sequence. But whereas some isolated proteins can be denatured and refolded in vitro in the absence of other macromolecular cellular components, folding and assembly of polypeptides in vivo involves other proteins, many of which belong to families that have been highly conserved during evolution.
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            Rapid redistribution of Golgi proteins into the ER in cells treated with brefeldin A: Evidence for membrane cycling from Golgi to ER

            In cells treated with brefeldin A (BFA), movement of newly synthesized membrane proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus was blocked. Surprisingly, the glycoproteins retained in the ER were rapidly processed by cis/medial Golgi enzymes but not by trans Golgi enzymes. An explanation for these observations was provided from morphological studies at both the light and electron microscopic levels using markers for the cis/medial and trans Golgi. They revealed a rapid and dramatic redistribution to the ER of components of the cis/medial but not the trans Golgi in response to treatment with BFA. Upon removal of BFA, the morphology of the Golgi apparatus was rapidly reestablished and proteins normally transported out of the ER were efficiently and rapidly sorted to their final destinations. These results suggest that BFA disrupts a dynamic membrane-recycling pathway between the ER and cis/medial Golgi, effectively blocking membrane transport out of but not back to the ER.
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              Microtubule-dependent retrograde transport of proteins into the ER in the presence of brefeldin A suggests an ER recycling pathway.

              Characteristics of brefeldin A (BFA)-induced redistribution of Golgi proteins into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and its relationship to an ER retrieval pathway were investigated. Retrograde movement of Golgi proteins into the ER occurred via long, tubulovesicular processes extending out of the Golgi along microtubules. Microtubule-disrupting agents (i.e., nocodazole), energy poisons, and reduced temperatures inhibited this pathway. In BFA-treated cells Golgi proteins appeared to cycle between the ER and an intermediate compartment marked by a 53 kd protein. Addition of nocodazole disrupted this dynamic cycle by preferentially inhibiting retrograde movement, causing Golgi proteins to accumulate in the intermediate compartment. In the absence of BFA, such an ER cycling pathway appeared to be followed normally by the 53 kd protein but not by Golgi proteins, as revealed by temperature shift experiments. We propose that BFA induces the interaction of the Golgi with an intermediate "recycling" compartment that utilizes a microtubule-dependent pathway into the ER.
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