The transport of newly synthesized proteins to the yeast cell surface has been analyzed by a modification of the technique developed by Kaplan et al. (Kaplan, G., C. Unkeless, and Z.A. Cohn, 1979, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 76:3824-3828). Cells metabolically labeled with (35)SO(4)(2-) are treated with trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS) at 0 degrees C under conditions where cell-surface proteins are tagged with trinitrophenol (TNP) but cytoplasmic proteins are not. After fractionation of cells into cell wall, membrane and cytoplasmic samples, and solubilization with SDS, the tagged proteins are immunoprecipitated with anti-TNP antibody and fixed staphylococcus aureus cells. Analysis of the precipitates by SDS gel electrophoresis and fluorography reveals four major protein species in the cell wall (S(1)-S(4)), seven species in the membrane fraction (M(1)-M(7)), and no tagged proteins in the cytoplasmic fraction.

Temperature-sensitive mutants defective in secretion of invertase and acid phosphatase (sec mutants; Novick, P., C. Field, and R. Schekman, 1980, Cell, 21:204-215) are also defective in transport of the 11 major cell surface proteins at the nonpermissive temperature (37 degrees C). Export of accumulated proteins is restored in an energy- dependent fashion when secl cells are returned to a permissive temperature (24 degrees C). In wild-type cells the transit time for different surface proteins varies from less than 8 min to about 30 min. The asynchrony is developed at an early stage in the secretory pathway.

All of the major cell wall proteins and many of the externally exposed plasma membrane proteins bind to concanavalin A. Inhibition of asparagine-linked glycosylation with tunicamycin does not prevent transport of several surface proteins.

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