The ERD2 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes the receptor which retrieves HDEL-containing containing ER proteins from the Golgi apparatus. Viable erd2 mutants have been isolated that show no obvious HDEL-dependent retention of the luminal ER protein BiP, suggesting that retrieval of HDEL proteins is not essential for growth. However, cells that lack Erd2p completely have a defective Golgi apparatus and cannot grow. This observation led to the suggestion that the receptor had a second function, possibly related to its ability to recycle from Golgi to ER. In this paper we investigate the requirements for Erd2p to support growth. We show that mutations that block its recycling also prevent growth. In addition, we show that all mutant receptors that can support growth have a residual ability to retrieve BiP, which is detectable when they are overexpressed. Mere recycling of an inactive form of the receptor, mediated by a cytoplasmic KKXX sequence, is not sufficient for growth. Furthermore, saturation of the receptor by expression of an HDEL-tagged version of pro-alpha factor inhibits growth, even of strains that do not show obvious BiP retention. We conclude that growth requires the HDEL-dependent retrieval of one or more proteins, and that these proteins can be recognized even under conditions where BiP is secreted. Genetic screens have failed to identify any one protein whose loss could account for the Erd2p requirement. Therefore, a growth may require the retention of multiple HDEL proteins in the ER, or alternatively the removal of such proteins from the Golgi apparatus.

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