The recycling of cellular glycoproteins to the site of Golgi mannosidase I, an enzyme of asparagine-linked oligosaccharide synthesis, was studied in K562 human erythroleukemia cells. Cells were metabolically labeled in the presence of deoxymannojirimycin, a reversible inhibitor of Golgi mannosidase I. This generates glycoproteins with immature oligosaccharides in their normal locations. Transport to the mannosidase I compartment was then assessed by testing for the conversion of oligosaccharides into mature forms during reculture without deoxymannojirimycin. Transferrin receptor (TfR) was acted on by mannosidase I during reculture, suggesting that it returned to the region of the Golgi complex where this enzyme resides. The slow rate of this transport (t1/2 greater than 6 h) implies that it is probably different than TfR movement during transferrin internalization (t1/2 = 10-20 min) and TfR transport to the sialyltransferase compartment in the Golgi complex (t1/2 = 2-3 h) (Snider, M. D., and O. C. Rogers, 1985, J. Cell Biol., 100:826-834). The total cell glycoprotein pool was also transported to the mannosidase I compartment with a half-time of 4 h. Because this transport is 5-10 times faster than the rate of de novo glycoprotein synthesis in these cells, it is likely that most of the glycoprotein traffic through the Golgi complex is composed of recycling molecules.

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