In vitro studies have suggested that Golgi stack formation involves two homologous peripheral Golgi proteins, GRASP65 and GRASP55, which localize to the cis and medial-trans cisternae, respectively. However, no mechanism has been provided on how these two GRASP proteins work together to stack Golgi cisternae. Here, we show that depletion of either GRASP55 or GRASP65 by siRNA reduces the number of cisternae per Golgi stack, whereas simultaneous knockdown of both GRASP proteins leads to disassembly of the entire stack. GRASP55 stacks Golgi membranes by forming oligomers through its N-terminal GRASP domain. This process is regulated by phosphorylation within the C-terminal serine/proline-rich domain. Expression of nonphosphorylatable GRASP55 mutants enhances Golgi stacking in interphase cells and inhibits Golgi disassembly during mitosis. These results demonstrate that GRASP55 and GRASP65 stack mammalian Golgi cisternae via a common mechanism.
Directed cell migration requires the orientation of the Golgi and centrosome toward the leading edge. We show that stimulation of interphase cells with the mitogens epidermal growth factor or lysophosphatidic acid activates the extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK), which phosphorylates the Golgi structural protein GRASP65 at serine 277. Expression of a GRASP65 Ser277 to alanine mutant or a GRASP65 1–201 truncation mutant, neither of which can be phosphorylated by ERK, prevents Golgi orientation to the leading edge in a wound assay. We show that phosphorylation of GRASP65 with recombinant ERK leads to the loss of GRASP65 oligomerization and causes Golgi cisternal unstacking. Furthermore, preventing Golgi polarization by expressing mutated GRASP65 inhibits centrosome orientation, which is rescued upon disassembly of the Golgi structure by brefeldin A. We conclude that Golgi remodeling, mediated by phosphorylation of GRASP65 by ERK, is critical for the establishment of cell polarity in migrating cells.