We have identified a 25-kD cytosolic yeast protein that mediates a late, prefusion step in transport of proteins between compartments of the Golgi apparatus. Activity was followed using the previously described cell free assay for protein transport between Golgi compartments as modified to detect late acting cytosolic factors (Wattenberg, B. W., and J. E. Rothman. 1986. J. Biol. Chem. 263:2208-2213). In the reaction mediated by this protein, transport vesicles that have become attached to the target membrane during a preincubation are processed in preparation for fusion. The ultimate fusion event does not require the addition of cytosolic proteins (Balch, W. E., W. G. Dunphy, W. A. Braell, and J. E. Rothman. 1984. Cell. 39:525-536). Although isolated from yeast, this protein has activity when assayed with mammalian membranes. This protein has been enriched over 150-fold from yeast cytosol, albeit not to complete homogeneity. The identity of a 25-kD polypeptide as the active component was confirmed by raising monoclonal antibodies to it. These antibodies were found to specifically inhibit transport activity. Because this is a protein operating in prefusion, it has been abbreviated POP.

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