Human autoantibodies offer unique tools for the study of cellular constituents since they usually recognize highly conserved components, the most difficult to detect due to their low immunogenicity. The serum from a patient with Sjögren's syndrome (RM serum) showing a very high reactivity to the Golgi complex has been shown to immunoprecipitate and to immunodetect by Western blotting experiments a protein mol wt 210,000 (p210) that was shown to be peripheral and cytoplasmically disposed. A close examination of the p210 labeling revealed some differences with Golgi markers: RM serum staining was slightly more extensive than several Golgi markers and showed a discontinuous or granular appearance. Nocodazole induced a specific and early segregation of many p210-associated vesicles or tubules from Golgi apparatus. Upon brefeldin A treatment, p210 did not redistribute in the ER as did other Golgi proteins. In contrast, it exhibited a vesicular pattern reminiscent to that displayed by proteins residing in the intermediate compartment. Double staining immunofluorescence using the RM serum and the marker of the intermediate compartment, p58, revealed segregation of both proteins in control conditions but colocalization in BFA-treated cells. We have further demonstrated by combining different drug treatments that p210-containing elements in brefeldin A-treated cells belong indeed to the intermediate compartment. Experiments on brefeldin A recovery suggested that these p210 elements might play a role in reformation and repositioning of the Golgi apparatus. Ultrastructural localization performed by immunoperoxidase staining allowed us to establish that p210 interacted with the external side of an abundant tubulo-vesicular system on the cis side of the Golgi complex which extended to connecting structures and vesicles between saccules or stacks of cisternae, p210 appears to be a novel protein residing in the cis-Golgi network that may cycle between the Golgi apparatus and the intermediate compartment.

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