The Vps1 protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an 80-kD GTPase associated with the Golgi apparatus. Vps1p appears to play a direct role in the retention of late Golgi membrane proteins, which are mislocalized to the vacuolar membrane in its absence. The pathway by which late Golgi and vacuolar membrane proteins reach the vacuole in vps1 delta mutants was investigated by analyzing transport of these proteins in vps1 delta cells that also contained temperature sensitive mutations in either the SEC4 or END4 genes, which are required for a late step in secretion and the internalization step of endocytosis, respectively. Not only was vacuolar transport of a Golgi membrane protein blocked in the vps1 delta sec4-ts and vps1 delta end4-ts double mutant cells at the non-permissive temperature but vacuolar delivery of the vacuolar membrane protein, alkaline phosphatase was also blocked in these cells. Moreover, both proteins expressed in the vps1 delta end4-ts cells at the elevated temperature could be detected on the plasma membrane by a protease digestion assay indicating that these proteins are transported to the vacuole via the plasma membrane in vps1 mutant cells. These data strongly suggest that a loss of Vps1p function causes all membrane traffic departing from the late Golgi normally destined for the prevacuolar compartment to instead be diverted to the plasma membrane. We propose a model in which Vps1p is required for formation of vesicles from the late Golgi apparatus that carry vacuolar and Golgi membrane proteins bound for the prevacuolar compartment.

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