ADP-ribosylation factors (Arfs) are small GTPases regulating membrane traffic in the secretory pathway. They are closely related and appear to have overlapping functions, regulators, and effectors. The functional specificity of individual Arfs and the extent of redundancy are still largely unknown. We addressed these questions by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genomic deletion of the human class I (Arf1/3) and class II (Arf4/5) Arfs, either individually or in combination. Most knockout cell lines were viable with slight growth defects only when lacking Arf1 or Arf4. However, Arf1+4 and Arf4+5 could not be deleted simultaneously. Class I Arfs are nonessential, and Arf4 alone is sufficient for viability. Upon Arf1 deletion, the Golgi was enlarged, and recruitment of vesicle coats decreased, confirming a major role of Arf1 in vesicle formation at the Golgi. Knockout of Arf4 caused secretion of ER-resident proteins, indicating specific defects in coatomer-dependent ER protein retrieval by KDEL receptors. The knockout cell lines will be useful tools to study other Arf-dependent processes.

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