The involvement of GTP-binding proteins in the intracellular transport of the secretory glycoprotein alpha 1-antitrypsin was investigated in streptolysin O-permeabilized HepG2 cells. This permeabilization procedure allows ready access to the intracellular milieu of the membrane-impermeant, nonhydrolyzable GTP analog GTP gamma S. In streptolysin O-permeabilized HepG2 cells, the constitutive secretory pathway remains functional and is sensitive to GTP gamma S. Exposure of HepG2 cells to brefeldin A resulted in redistribution of Golgi-resident glycosyltransferases (including both alpha 2----3 and alpha 2----6 sialyltransferases) to the ER. This redistribution was sensitive to GTP gamma S. Our results suggest that GTP-binding proteins are involved in the regulation not only of the anterograde, but also of the retrograde, pathway.

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