Brefeldin A (BFA) has a dramatic effect on the morphology of the Golgi apparatus and induces a rapid redistribution of Golgi proteins into the ER (Lippincott-Schwartz, J., L. C. Yuan, J. S. Bonifacino, and R. D. Klausner. 1989. Cell. 56:801-813). To date, no evidence that BFA affects the morphology of the trans-Golgi network (TGN) has been presented. We describe the results of experiments, using a polyclonal antiserum to a TGN specific integral membrane protein (TGN38) (Luzio, J.P., B. Brake, G. Banting, K. E. Howell, P. Braghetta, and K. K. Stanley. 1990. Biochem. J. 270:97-102), which demonstrate that incubation of cells with BFA does induce morphological changes to the TGN. However, rather than redistributing to the ER, the majority of the TGN collapses around the microtubule organizing center (MTOC). The effect of BFA upon the TGN is (a) independent of protein synthesis, (b) fully reversible (c) microtubule dependent (as shown in nocodazole-treated cells), and (d) relies upon the hydrolysis of GTP (as shown by performing experiments in the presence of GTP gamma S). ATP depletion reduces the ability of BFA to induce a redistribution of Golgi proteins into the ER; however, it has no effect upon the BFA-induced relocalizations of the TGN. These data confirm that the TGN is an organelle which is independent of the Golgi, and suggest a dynamic interaction between the TGN and microtubules which is centered around the MTOC.

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