The transfer of membranes from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus occurs via 50-70 nm transition vesicles which derive from part-rough, part-smooth transitional elements of the endoplasmic reticulum (TER). Vesicle budding from the TER is an ATP-dependent process both in vivo and in vitro. An ATPase with a monomer molecular weight of 100 kD by SDS-PAGE has been isolated from TER and designated as TER ATPase. The native TER ATPase has been characterized as a hexamer of six 100-kD subunits by gel filtration. The protein catalyzes the hydrolysis of [gamma 32-P]ATP and is phosphorylated in the presence of Mg2+. It is distinct from the classical transport ATPases based on pH optima, ion effects, and inhibitor specificity. Electron microscopy of negatively stained preparations revealed the TER ATPase to be a ring-shaped structure with six-fold rotational symmetry. A 19-amino acid sequence of TER ATPase having 84% identity with valosin-containing protein and 64% identity with a yeast cell-cycle control protein CDC48p was obtained. Anti-synthetic peptide antisera to a 15-amino acid portion of the sequence of TER ATPase recognized a 100-kD protein from TER. These antisera reduced the ATP-dependent cell-free formation of transition vesicles from isolated TER of rat liver. In a reconstituted membrane transfer system, TER ATPase antisera inhibited transfer of radiolabeled material from endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi apparatus, while preimmune sera did not. The results suggest that the TER ATPase is obligatorily involved in the ATP requirements for budding of transition vesicles from the TER. cDNA clones encoding TER ATPase were isolated by immunoscreening a rat liver cDNA library with the affinity-purified TER ATPase antibody. A computer search of deduced amino acid sequences revealed the cloned TER ATPase to be the rat equivalent of porcine valosin-containing protein, a member of a novel family of ATP binding, homo-oligomeric proteins including the N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein.

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