Brefeldin A (BFA) has been reported to block protein transport from the ER and cause disassembly of the Golgi complex. We have examined the effects of BFA on the transport and processing of the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein, a model integral membrane protein. Delivery of G protein to the cell surface was reversibly blocked by 6 micrograms/ml BFA. Pulse-label experiments revealed that in the presence of BFA, G protein became completely resistant to endoglycosidase H digestion. Addition of sialic acid, a trans-Golgi event, was not observed. Despite processing by cis- and medial Golgi enzymes, G protein was localized by indirect immunofluorescence to a reticular distribution characteristic of the ER. By preventing transport of G protein from the ER with the metabolic inhibitor carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone or by use of the temperature-sensitive mutant ts045, which is restricted to the ER at 40 degrees C, we showed that processing of G protein occurred in the ER and was not due to retention of newly synthesized Golgi enzymes. Rather, redistribution of preexisting cis and medial Golgi enzymes to the ER occurred as soon as 2.5 min after addition of BFA, and was complete by 10-15 min. Delivery of Golgi enzymes to the ER was energy dependent and occurred only at temperatures greater than or equal to 20 degrees C. BFA also induced retrograde transport of G protein from the medial Golgi to the ER. Golgi enzymes were completely recovered from the ER 10 min after removal of BFA. These findings demonstrate that BFA induces retrograde transport of both resident and itinerant Golgi proteins to the ER in a fully reversible manner.

This content is only available as a PDF.