Previous reports demonstrated that the vesicular stomatitis viral glycoprotein (G protein), initially present in membranes of a Chinese hamster ovary mutant cell line (clone 15B) that is incapable of terminal glycosylation, can be transferred in vitro to exogenous Golgi membranes and there glycosylated (E. Fries and J. E. Rothman, 1980, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 77:3870-3874; and J. E. Rothman and E. Fries, 1981, J. Cell Biol. 89:162-168). Here we present evidence that Golgi-like membranes serve as donors of G protein in this process. Pulse-chase experiments revealed that the donor activity of membranes is greatest at approximately 10 min of chase, a time when G protein has been shown to have arrived in Golgi stacks (J. E. Bergmann, K. T. Tokuyasu, and S. J. Singer, 1981, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 78:1746-1750). Additional evidence that the G protein that is transferred to exogenous Golgi membranes in vitro had already entered the Golgi membranes in vivo was provided by observations that its oligosaccharides had already been trimmed, and that its distribution in a sucrose density gradient was coincident with that of enzymatic markers of Golgi membranes. The capacity of this Golgi-like membrane to serve as donor is transient, declining within 5 min after "trimming" in vivo as the G protein enters a "nontransferable" pool. The rapidity of the process suggests that both the "transferable" and "nontransferable" pools of G protein reside in Golgi-like membranes.

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