We have investigated the role of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER) of UT-1 cells in the biogenesis of the glycoprotein (G) of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). Using immunofluorescence microscopy, we observed the wild type G protein in the SER of infected cells. When these cells were infected with the mutant VSV strain ts045, the G protein was unable to reach the Golgi apparatus at 40 degrees C, but was able to exit the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) and accumulate in the SER. Ribophorin II, a RER marker, remained excluded from the SER during the viral infection, ruling out the possibility that the infection had destroyed the separate identities of these two organelles. Thus, the mechanism that results in the retention of this mutant glycoprotein in the ER at 39.9 degrees C does not limit its lateral mobility within the ER system. We have also localized GRP78/BiP to the SER of UT-1 cells indicating that other mutant proteins may also have access to this organelle. Upon incubation at 32 degrees C, the mutant G protein was able to leave the SER and move to the Golgi apparatus. To measure how rapidly this transfer occurs, we assayed the conversion of the G protein's N-linked oligosaccharides from endoglycosidase H-sensitive to endoglycosidase H-resistant forms. After a 5-min lag, transport of the G protein followed first order kinetics (t1/2 = 15 min). In contrast, no lag was seen in the transport of G protein that had accumulated in the RER of control UT-1 cells lacking extensive SER. In these cells, the transport of G protein also exhibited first order kinetics (t1/2 = 17 min). Possible implications of this lag are discussed.

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