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1.  Regulation of exocytosis by the exocyst subunit Sec6 and the SM protein Sec1 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(2):337-346.
The Sec6 subunit of the multisubunit exocyst tethering complex interacts with the Sec1/Munc18 protein Sec1 and with the t-SNARE Sec9. Assembly of the exocyst upon vesicle arrival at sites of secretion is proposed to release Sec9 for SNARE complex assembly and to recruit Sec1 for interaction with SNARE complexes to facilitate fusion.
Trafficking of protein and lipid cargo through the secretory pathway in eukaryotic cells is mediated by membrane-bound vesicles. Secretory vesicle targeting and fusion require a conserved multisubunit protein complex termed the exocyst, which has been implicated in specific tethering of vesicles to sites of polarized exocytosis. The exocyst is directly involved in regulating soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor (NSF) attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complexes and membrane fusion through interactions between the Sec6 subunit and the plasma membrane SNARE protein Sec9. Here we show another facet of Sec6 function—it directly binds Sec1, another SNARE regulator, but of the Sec1/Munc18 family. The Sec6–Sec1 interaction is exclusive of Sec6–Sec9 but compatible with Sec6–exocyst assembly. In contrast, the Sec6–exocyst interaction is incompatible with Sec6–Sec9. Therefore, upon vesicle arrival, Sec6 is proposed to release Sec9 in favor of Sec6–exocyst assembly and to simultaneously recruit Sec1 to sites of secretion for coordinated SNARE complex formation and membrane fusion.
PMCID: PMC3258177  PMID: 22114349
2.  Exocyst Sec10 is Involved in Basolateral Protein Translation and Translocation in the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Nephron. Experimental nephrology  2012;120(4):e134-e140.
Protein translation and translocation at the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) are the first steps in the secretory pathway. The translocon through which newly-made proteins are translocated into or across the RER membrane, consists of three main subunits, Sec61α, β, and γ. Sec61β facilitates translocation, and we and others showed that the highly-conserved eight protein exocyst complex interacts with Sec61β. We also showed that the exocyst was involved in basolateral, and not apical, protein synthesis and delivery. Recently, however, exocyst involvement in apical protein delivery was reported. Furthermore, we showed that the exocyst was necessary for formation of primary cilia, organelles found on the apical surface.
GST pulldown was performed on lysate of renal tubule cells to investigate biochemical interactions. Cell-free assays consisting of cell-free extracts from rabbit reticulocytes, pancreatic ER microsomal membranes, transcripts of cDNA from apical and basolateral proteins, ATP/GTP, amino acids, and 35S-methionine for protein detection, were used to investigate the role of the exocyst in synthesis of polarized proteins. P32-orthophosphate and immunoprecipitation with antibody against Sec61β was used to investigate the Sec61β phosphorylation in exocyst Sec10-overexpressing cells.
Sec10 biochemically interacts with Sec61β using GST pulldown. Using cell-free assays, there is enhanced recruitment to ER membranes following exocyst depletion and basolateral VSVG protein translation, compared to apical HA protein translation. Finally, Sec10 overexpression increases Sec61β phosphorylation.
These data confirm that the exocyst is preferentially involved in basolateral protein translation and translocation, and may well act through the phosphorylation of Sec61β.
PMCID: PMC3740206  PMID: 23037926
exocyst; polarity; translation; endoplasmic reticulum
3.  Fission Yeast Sec3 Bridges the Exocyst Complex to the Actin Cytoskeleton 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2012;13(11):1481-1495.
The exocyst complex tethers post-Golgi secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane prior to docking and fusion. In this study, we identify Sec3, the missing component of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe exocyst complex (SpSec3). SpSec3 shares many properties with its orthologs, and its mutants are rescued by human Sec3/EXOC1. Although involved in exocytosis, SpSec3 does not appear to mark the site of exocyst complex assembly at the plasma membrane. It does, however, mark the sites of actin cytoskeleton recruitment and controls the organization of all three yeast actin structures: the actin cables, endocytic actin patches and actomyosin ring. Specifically, SpSec3 physically interacts with For3 and sec3 mutants have no actin cables as a result of a failure to polarize this nucleating formin. SpSec3 also interacts with actin patch components and sec3 mutants have depolarized actin patches of reduced endocytic capacity. Finally, the constriction and disassembly of the cytokinetic actomyosin ring is compromised in these sec3 mutant cells. We propose that a role of SpSec3 is to spatially couple actin machineries and their independently polarized regulators. As a consequence of its dual role in secretion and actin organization, Sec3 appears as a major co-ordinator of cell morphology in fission yeast.
PMCID: PMC3531892  PMID: 22891673
actin; endocytosis; exocyst; morphology; Schizosaccharomyces pombe
4.  Ypt32 recruits the Sec4p guanine nucleotide exchange factor, Sec2p, to secretory vesicles; evidence for a Rab cascade in yeast 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2002;157(6):1005-1016.
SEC2 is an essential gene required for polarized growth of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It encodes a protein of 759 amino acids that functions as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the small GTPase Sec4p, a regulator of Golgi to plasma membrane transport. Activation of Sec4p by Sec2p is needed for polarized transport of vesicles to exocytic sites. Temperature-sensitive (ts) mutations in sec2 and sec4 result in a tight block in secretion and the accumulation of secretory vesicles randomly distributed in the cell. The proper localization of Sec2p to secretory vesicles is essential for its function and is largely independent of Sec4p. Although the ts mutation sec2-78 does not affect nucleotide exchange activity, the protein is mislocalized. Here we present evidence that Ypt31/32p, members of Rab family of GTPases, regulate Sec2p function. First, YPT31/YPT32 suppress the sec2-78 mutation. Second, overexpression of Ypt31/32p restores localization of Sec2-78p. Third, Ypt32p and Sec2p interact biochemically, but Sec2p has no exchange activity on Ypt32p. We propose that Ypt32p and Sec4p act as part of a signaling cascade in which Ypt32p recruits Sec2p to secretory vesicles; once on the vesicle, Sec2p activates Sec4p, enabling the polarized transport of vesicles to the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC2174052  PMID: 12045183
membrane traffic; Ypt31/32; exchange factor; Rab; yeast
5.  Sec6, Sec8, and Sec15 are components of a multisubunit complex which localizes to small bud tips in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1995;130(2):299-312.
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the products of at least 14 genes are involved specifically in vesicular transport from the Golgi apparatus to the plasma membrane. Two of these genes, SEC8 and SEC15, encode components of a 1-2-million D multi-subunit complex that is found in the cytoplasm and associated with the plasma membrane. In this study, oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis is used to alter the COOH- terminal portion of Sec8 with a 6-histidine tag, a 9E10 c-myc epitope, or both, to allow the isolation of the Sec8/15 complex from yeast lysates either by immobilized metal affinity chromatography or by immunoprecipitation. Sec6 cofractionates with Sec8/15 by immobilized metal affinity chromatography, gel filtration chromatography, and by sucrose velocity centrifugation. Sec6 and Sec15 coimmunoprecipitate from lysates with c-myc-tagged Sec8. These data indicate that the Sec8/15 complex contains Sec6 as a stable component. Additional proteins associated with Sec6/8/15 were identified by immunoprecipitations from radiolabeled lysates. The entire Sec6/8/15 complex contains at least eight polypeptides which range in molecular mass from 70 to 144 kD. Yeast strains containing temperature sensitive mutations in the SEC genes were also transformed with the SEC8-c-myc-6- histidine construct and analyzed by immunoprecipitation. The composition of the Sec6/8/15 complex is disrupted specifically in the sec3-2, sec5-24, and sec10-2 strain backgrounds. The c-myc-Sec8 protein is localized by immunofluorescence to small bud tips indicating that the Sec6/8/15 complex may function at sites of exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC2199927  PMID: 7615633
6.  Cyclical Regulation of the Exocyst and Cell Polarity Determinants for Polarized Cell Growth 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(3):1500-1512.
Polarized exocytosis is important for morphogenesis and cell growth. The exocyst is a multiprotein complex implicated in tethering secretory vesicles at specific sites of the plasma membrane for exocytosis. In the budding yeast, the exocyst is localized to sites of bud emergence or the tips of small daughter cells, where it mediates secretion and cell surface expansion. To understand how exocytosis is spatially controlled, we systematically analyzed the localization of Sec15p, a member of the exocyst complex and downstream effector of the rab protein Sec4p, in various mutants. We found that the polarized localization of Sec15p relies on functional upstream membrane traffic, activated rab protein Sec4p, and its guanine exchange factor Sec2p. The initial targeting of both Sec4p and Sec15p to the bud tip depends on polarized actin cable. However, different recycling mechanisms for rab and Sec15p may account for the different kinetics of polarization for these two proteins. We also found that Sec3p and Sec15p, though both members of the exocyst complex, rely on distinctive targeting mechanisms for their localization. The assembly of the exocyst may integrate various cellular signals to ensure that exocytosis is tightly controlled. Key regulators of cell polarity such as Cdc42p are important for the recruitment of the exocyst to the budding site. Conversely, we found that the proper localization of these cell polarity regulators themselves also requires a functional exocytosis pathway. We further report that Bem1p, a protein essential for the recruitment of signaling molecules for the establishment of cell polarity, interacts with the exocyst complex. We propose that a cyclical regulatory network contributes to the establishment and maintenance of polarized cell growth in yeast.
PMCID: PMC551511  PMID: 15647373
7.  Cloning and characterization of Kluyveromyces lactis SEC14, a gene whose product stimulates Golgi secretory function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1990;172(8):4510-4521.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae SEC14 gene encodes a cytosolic factor that is required for secretory protein movement from the Golgi complex. That some conservation of SEC14p function may exist was initially suggested by experiments that revealed immunoreactive polypeptides in cell extracts of the divergent yeasts Kluyveromyces lactis and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We have cloned and characterized the K. lactis SEC14 gene (SEC14KL). Immunoprecipitation experiments indicated that SEC14KL encoded the K. lactis structural homolog of SEC14p. In agreement with those results, nucleotide sequence analysis of SEC14KL revealed a gene product of 301 residues (Mr, 34,615) and 77% identity to SEC14p. Moreover, a single ectopic copy of SEC14KL was sufficient to render S. cerevisiae sec14-1(Ts) mutants, or otherwise inviable sec14-129::HIS3 mutant strains, completely proficient for secretory pathway function by the criteria of growth, invertase secretion, and kinetics of vacuolar protein localization. This efficient complementation of sec14-129::HIS3 was observed to occur when the rates of SEC14pKL and SEC14p synthesis were reduced by a factor of 7 to 10 with respect to the wild-type rate of SEC14p synthesis. Taken together, these data provide evidence that the high level of structural conservation between SEC14p and SEC14pKL reflects a functional identity between these polypeptides as well. On the basis of the SEC14p and SEC14pKL primary sequence homology to the human retinaldehyde-binding protein, we suggest that the general function of these SEC14p species may be to regulate the delivery of a hydrophobic ligand to Golgi membranes so that biosynthetic secretory traffic can be supported.
PMCID: PMC213282  PMID: 2198263
8.  Characterization of a component of the yeast secretion machinery: identification of the SEC18 gene product. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1988;8(10):4098-4109.
SEC18 gene function is required for secretory protein transport between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the Golgi complex. We cloned the SEC18 gene by complementation of the sec18-1 mutation. Gene disruption has shown that SEC18 is essential for yeast cell growth. Sequence analysis of the gene revealed a 2,271-base-pair open reading frame which could code for a protein of 83.9 kilodaltons. The predicted protein sequence showed no significant similarity to other known protein sequences. In vitro transcription and translation of SEC18 led to the synthesis of two proteins of approximately 84 and 82 kilodaltons. Antisera raised against a Sec18-beta-galactosidase fusion protein also detected two proteins (collectively referred to as Sec18p) in extracts of 35S-labeled yeast cells identical in size to those seen by in vitro translation. Mapping of the 5' end of the SEC18 mRNA revealed only one major start site for transcription, which indicates that the multiple forms of Sec18p do not arise from mRNAs with different 5' ends. Results of pulse-chase experiments indicated that the two forms of Sec18p are not the result of posttranslational processing. We suggest that translation initiating at different in-frame AUG start codons is likely to account for the presence of two forms of Sec18p. Hydrophobicity analysis indicated that the proteins were hydrophilic in nature and lacked any region that would be predicted to serve as a signal sequence or transmembrane anchor. Although potential sites for N-linked glycosylation were present in the Sec18p sequence, the sizes of the in vivo SEC18 gene products were unaffected by the drug tunicamycin, indicating that Sec18p does not enter the secretory pathway. These results suggest that Sec18p resides in the cell cytoplasm. While preliminary cell fractionation studies showed that Sec18p is not associated with the ER or Golgi complex, association with a 100,000 x g pellet fraction was observed. This suggests that Sec18p may bind transiently to small vesicles such as those presumed to participate in secretory protein transport between ER and the Golgi complex.
PMCID: PMC365479  PMID: 3054509
9.  SEC24A deficiency lowers plasma cholesterol through reduced PCSK9 secretion 
eLife  2013;2:e00444.
The secretory pathway of eukaryotic cells packages cargo proteins into COPII-coated vesicles for transport from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi. We now report that complete genetic deficiency for the COPII component SEC24A is compatible with normal survival and development in the mouse, despite the fundamental role of SEC24 in COPII vesicle formation and cargo recruitment. However, these animals exhibit markedly reduced plasma cholesterol, with mutations in Apoe and Ldlr epistatic to Sec24a, suggesting a receptor-mediated lipoprotein clearance mechanism. Consistent with these data, hepatic LDLR levels are up-regulated in SEC24A-deficient cells as a consequence of specific dependence of PCSK9, a negative regulator of LDLR, on SEC24A for efficient exit from the ER. Our findings also identify partial overlap in cargo selectivity between SEC24A and SEC24B, suggesting a previously unappreciated heterogeneity in the recruitment of secretory proteins to the COPII vesicles that extends to soluble as well as trans-membrane cargoes.
eLife digest
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a structure that performs a variety of functions within eukaryotic cells. It can be divided into two regions: the surface of the rough ER is coated with ribosomes that manufacture various proteins, while the smooth ER is involved in activities such as lipid synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Proteins synthesized by the ribosomes attached to the rough ER are generally transferred to another structure within the cell, the Golgi apparatus, where they undergo further processing and packaging before being secreted or transported to another location within the cell.
Proteins are shuttled from the ER to the Golgi apparatus by vesicles covered with coat protein complex II (COPII). This complex is composed of an inner and outer coat, each of which is assembled primarily with two different SEC proteins: the SEC23/SEC24 protein heterodimer forms the inner coat of the COPII vesicle, and plays a key role in recruiting the appropriate protein cargos to the transport vesicle, while the SEC13/SEC31 protein heterotetramer forms the outer coat and is generally responsible for regulating vesicle size and rigidity.
Previous work found that mammals, including humans and mice, harbor multiple copies of several SEC protein genes, including two copies of SEC23 and four copies of SEC24. Both copies of SEC23 are derived from the same ancestral gene, and all four copies of SEC24 are derived from a different ancestral gene, and the availability of these copies potentially expands the range of properties that the vesicles can have. Insight into the roles of each SEC protein has come from work with SEC mutants. For example, a mutation in SEC23A was found to cause skeletal abnormalities in humans.
Here, Chen et al. report the results of experiments which showed that mice with an inactive Sec24a gene could develop normally. However, these mice experienced a 45% reduction in their plasma cholesterol levels because they were not able to recruit and transport a secretory protein called PCSK9, which is a critical regulator of blood cholesterol levels.
The work of Chen et al. reveals a previously unappreciated complexity in the recruitment of secretory proteins to the COPII vesicle and suggests that the various combinations of SEC proteins influence the proteins selected for transport to the Golgi apparatus. The work also identifies Sec24a as a potential therapeutic target for the reduction of plasma cholesterol, a finding that could be of interest to researchers working on heart disease and other conditions exacerbated by high cholesterol.
PMCID: PMC3622177  PMID: 23580231
Secretory pathway; COP II; Cholesterol metabolism; Mouse
10.  The Role of the Cooh Terminus of Sec2p in the Transport of Post-Golgi Vesicles 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;149(1):95-110.
Sec2p is required for the polarized transport of secretory vesicles in S. cerevisiae. The Sec2p NH2 terminus encodes an exchange factor for the Rab protein Sec4p. Sec2p associates with vesicles and in Sec2p COOH-terminal mutants Sec4p and vesicles no longer accumulate at bud tips. Thus, the Sec2p COOH terminus functions in targeting vesicles, however, the mechanism of function is unknown. We found comparable exchange activity for truncated and full-length Sec2 proteins, implying that the COOH terminus does not alter the exchange rate. Full-length Sec2-GFP, similar to Sec4p, concentrates at bud tips. A COOH-terminal 58–amino acid domain is necessary but not sufficient for localization. Sec2p localization depends on actin, Myo2p and Sec1p, Sec6p, and Sec9p function. Full-length, but not COOH-terminally truncated Sec2 proteins are enriched on membranes. Membrane association of full-length Sec2p is reduced in sec6-4 and sec9-4 backgrounds at 37°C but unaffected at 25°C. Taken together, these data correlate loss of localization of Sec2 proteins with reduced membrane association. In addition, Sec2p membrane attachment is substantially Sec4p independent, supporting the notion that Sec2p interacts with membranes via an unidentified Sec2p receptor, which would increase the accessibility of Sec2p exchange activity for Sec4p.
PMCID: PMC2175086  PMID: 10747090
transport; exchange factor; yeast; Rab; vesicles
11.  Molecular Interactions Position Mso1p, a Novel PTB Domain Homologue, in the Interface of the Exocyst Complex and the Exocytic SNARE Machinery in Yeast 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(10):4543-4556.
In this study, we have analyzed the association of the Sec1p interacting protein Mso1p with the membrane fusion machinery in yeast. We show that Mso1p is essential for vesicle fusion during prospore membrane formation. Green fluorescent protein-tagged Mso1p localizes to the sites of exocytosis and at the site of prospore membrane formation. In vivo and in vitro experiments identified a short amino-terminal sequence in Mso1p that mediates its interaction with Sec1p and is needed for vesicle fusion. A point mutation, T47A, within the Sec1p-binding domain abolishes Mso1p functionality in vivo, and mso1T47A mutant cells display specific genetic interactions with sec1 mutants. Mso1p coimmunoprecipitates with Sec1p, Sso1/2p, Snc1/2p, Sec9p, and the exocyst complex subunit Sec15p. In sec4-8 and SEC4I133 mutant cells, association of Mso1p with Sso1/2p, Snc1/2p, and Sec9p is affected, whereas interaction with Sec1p persists. Furthermore, in SEC4I133 cells the dominant negative Sec4I133p coimmunoprecipitates with Mso1p–Sec1p complex. Finally, we identify Mso1p as a homologue of the PTB binding domain of the mammalian Sec1p binding Mint proteins. These results position Mso1p in the interface of the exocyst complex, Sec4p, and the SNARE machinery, and reveal a novel layer of molecular conservation in the exocytosis machinery.
PMCID: PMC1237063  PMID: 16030256
12.  Yeast actin cytoskeleton mutants accumulate a new class of Golgi-derived secretary vesicle. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1997;8(8):1481-1499.
Many yeast actin cytoskeleton mutants accumulate large secretory vesicles and exhibit phenotypes consistent with defects in polarized growth. This, together with actin's polarized organization, has suggested a role for the actin cytoskeleton in the vectorial transport of late secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane. By using ultrastructural and biochemical analysis, we have characterized defects manifested by mutations in the SLA2 gene (also known as the END4 gene), previously found to affect both the organization of the actin cytoskeleton and endocytosis in yeast. Defects in cell wall morphology, accumulated vesicles, and protein secretion kinetics were found in sla2 mutants similar to defects found in act1 mutants. Vesicles that accumulate in the sla2 and act1 mutants are immunoreactive with antibodies directed against the small GTPase Ypt1p but not with antibodies directed against the homologous Sec4p found on classical "late" secretory vesicles. In contrast, the late-acting secretory mutants sec1-1 and sec6-4 are shown to accumulate anti-Sec4p-positive secretory vesicles as well as vesicles that are immunoreactive with antibodies directed against Ypt1p. The late sec mutant sec4-8 is also shown to accumulate Ypt1p-containing vesicles and to exhibit defects in actin cytoskeleton organization. These results indicate the existence of at least two classes of morphologically similar, late secretory vesicles (associated with Ypt1p+ and Sec4p+, respectively), one of which appears to accumulate when the actin cytoskeleton is disorganized.
PMCID: PMC276171  PMID: 9285820
13.  Structural and functional characterization of Sec66p, a new subunit of the polypeptide translocation apparatus in the yeast endoplasmic reticulum. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1993;4(9):931-939.
SEC66 encodes the 31.5-kDa glycoprotein of the Sec63p complex, an integral endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein complex required for translocation of presecretory proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. DNA sequence analysis of SEC66 predicts a 23-kDa protein with no obvious NH2-terminal signal sequence but with one domain of sufficient length and hydrophobicity to span a lipid bilayer. Antibodies directed against a recombinant form of Sec66p were used to confirm the membrane location of Sec66p and that Sec66p is a glycoprotein of 31.5 kDa. A null mutation in SEC66 renders yeast cells temperature sensitive for growth. sec66 cells accumulate some secretory precursors at a permissive temperature and a variety of precursors at the restrictive temperature. sec66 cells show defects in Sec63p complex formation. Because sec66 cells affect the translocation of some, but not all secretory precursor polypeptides, the role of Sec66p may be to interact with the signal peptide of presecretory proteins.
PMCID: PMC275723  PMID: 8257795
14.  Sec1p and Mso1p C-terminal tails cooperate with the SNAREs and Sec4p in polarized exocytosis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(2):230-244.
It is shown that Sec1p C-terminal tail is needed for proper Sec1p-SNARE complex interaction. Furthermore, evidence is provided that the Mso1p C terminus collaborates with the GTP-bound form of Sec4p in the bud. These results reveal a role for the Sec1p C-terminal tail in SNARE complex binding and suggest Mso1p as an effector for Sec4p.
The Sec1/Munc18 protein family members perform an essential, albeit poorly understood, function in association with soluble n-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor adaptor protein receptor (SNARE) complexes in membrane fusion. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sec1p has a C-terminal tail that is missing in its mammalian homologues. Here we show that deletion of the Sec1p tail (amino acids 658–724) renders cells temperature sensitive for growth, reduces sporulation efficiency, causes a secretion defect, and abolishes Sec1p-SNARE component coimmunoprecipitation. The results show that the Sec1p tail binds preferentially ternary Sso1p-Sec9p-Snc2p complexes and it enhances ternary SNARE complex formation in vitro. The bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assay results suggest that, in the SNARE-deficient sso2–1 Δsso1 cells, Mso1p, a Sec1p binding protein, helps to target Sec1p(1–657) lacking the C-terminal tail to the sites of secretion. The results suggest that the Mso1p C terminus is important for Sec1p(1–657) targeting. We show that, in addition to Sec1p, Mso1p can bind the Rab-GTPase Sec4p in vitro. The BiFC results suggest that Mso1p acts in close association with Sec4p on intracellular membranes in the bud. This association depends on the Sec4p guanine nucleotide exchange factor Sec2p. Our results reveal a novel binding mode between the Sec1p C-terminal tail and the SNARE complex, and suggest a role for Mso1p as an effector of Sec4p.
PMCID: PMC3020918  PMID: 21119007
15.  Role of Human Sec63 in Modulating the Steady-State Levels of Multi-Spanning Membrane Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49243.
The Sec61 translocon of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane forms an aqueous pore, allowing polypeptides to be transferred across or integrated into membranes. Protein translocation into the ER can occur co- and posttranslationally. In yeast, posttranslational translocation involves the heptameric translocase complex including its Sec62p and Sec63p subunits. The mammalian ER membrane contains orthologs of yeast Sec62p and Sec63p, but their function is poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the effects of excess and deficit Sec63 on various ER cargoes using human cell culture systems. The overexpression of Sec63 reduces the steady-state levels of viral and cellular multi-spanning membrane proteins in a cotranslational mode, while soluble and single-spanning ER reporters are not affected. Consistent with this, the knock-down of Sec63 increases the steady-state pools of polytopic ER proteins, suggesting a substrate-specific and regulatory function of Sec63 in ER import. Overexpressed Sec63 exerts its down-regulating activity on polytopic protein levels independent of its Sec62-interacting motif, indicating that it may not act in conjunction with Sec62 in human cells. The specific action of Sec63 is further sustained by our observations that the up-regulation of either Sec62 or two other ER proteins with lumenal J domains, like ERdj1 and ERdj4, does not compromise the steady-state level of a multi-spanning membrane reporter. A J domain-specific mutation of Sec63, proposed to weaken its interaction with the ER resident BiP chaperone, reduces the down-regulating capacity of excess Sec63, suggesting an involvement of BiP in this process. Together, these results suggest that Sec63 may perform a substrate-selective quantity control function during cotranslational ER import.
PMCID: PMC3499540  PMID: 23166619
16.  Sec3p is involved in secretion and morphogenesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1997;8(4):647-662.
Two new temperature-sensitive alleles of SEC3, 1 of 10 late-acting SEC genes required for targeting or fusion of post-Golgi secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, were isolated in a screen for temperature-sensitive secretory mutants that are synthetically lethal with sec4-8. The new sec3 alleles affect early as well as late stages of secretion. Cloning and sequencing of the SEC3 gene revealed that it is identical to profilin synthetic lethal 1 (PSL1). The SEC3 gene is not essential because cells depleted of Sec3p are viable although slow growing and temperature sensitive. All of the sec3 alleles genetically interact with a profilin mutation, pfy1-111. The SEC3 gene in high copy suppresses pfy1-111 and sec5-24 and causes synthetic growth defects with ypt1, sec8-9, sec10-2, and sec15-1. Actin structure is only perturbed in conditions of chronic loss of Sec3p function, implying that Sec3p does not directly regulate actin. All alleles of sec3 cause bud site selection defects in homozygous diploids, as do sec4-8 and sec9-4. This suggests that SEC gene products are involved in determining the bud site and is consistent with a role for Sec3p in determining the correct site of exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC276116  PMID: 9247645
17.  Human ARF4 expression rescues sec7 mutant yeast cells. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(7):3275-3284.
Vesicle-mediated traffic between compartments of the yeast secretory pathway involves recruitment of multiple cytosolic proteins for budding, targeting, and membrane fusion events. The SEC7 gene product (Sec7p) is a constituent of coat structures on transport vesicles en route to the Golgi complex in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To identify mammalian homologs of Sec7p and its interacting proteins, we used a genetic selection strategy in which a human HepG2 cDNA library was transformed into conditional-lethal yeast sec7 mutants. We isolated several clones capable of rescuing sec7 mutant growth at the restrictive temperature. The cDNA encoding the most effective suppressor was identified as human ADP ribosylation factor 4 (hARF4), a member of the GTPase family proposed to regulate recruitment of vesicle coat proteins in mammalian cells. Having identified a Sec7p-interacting protein rather than the mammalian Sec7p homolog, we provide evidence that hARF4 suppressed the sec7 mutation by restoring secretory pathway function. Shifting sec7 strains to the restrictive temperature results in the disappearance of the mutant Sec7p cytosolic pool without apparent changes in the membrane-associated fraction. The introduction of hARF4 to the cells maintained the balance between cytosolic and membrane-associated Sec7p pools. These results suggest a requirement for Sec7p cycling on and off of the membranes for cell growth and vesicular traffic. In addition, overexpression of the yeast GTPase-encoding genes ARF1 and ARF2, but not that of YPT1, suppressed the sec7 mutant growth phenotype in an allele-specific manner. This allele specificity indicates that individual ARFs are recruited to perform two different Sec7p-related functions in vesicle coat dynamics.
PMCID: PMC231321  PMID: 8668142
18.  The yeast lgl family member Sro7p is an effector of the secretory Rab GTPase Sec4p 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;172(1):55-66.
Rab guanosine triphosphatases regulate intracellular membrane traffic by binding specific effector proteins. The yeast Rab Sec4p plays multiple roles in the polarized transport of post-Golgi vesicles to, and their subsequent fusion with, the plasma membrane, suggesting the involvement of several effectors. Yet, only one Sec4p effector has been documented to date: the exocyst protein Sec15p. The exocyst is an octameric protein complex required for tethering secretory vesicles, which is a prerequisite for membrane fusion. In this study, we describe the identification of a second Sec4p effector, Sro7p, which is a member of the lethal giant larvae tumor suppressor family. Sec4-GTP binds to Sro7p in cell extracts as well as to purified Sro7p, and the two proteins can be coimmunoprecipitated. Furthermore, we demonstrate the formation of a ternary complex of Sec4-GTP, Sro7p, and the t-SNARE Sec9p. Genetic data support our conclusion that Sro7p functions downstream of Sec4p and further imply that Sro7p and the exocyst share partially overlapping functions, possibly in SNARE regulation.
PMCID: PMC2063532  PMID: 16390997
19.  Fission Yeast Sec3 and Exo70 Are Transported on Actin Cables and Localize the Exocyst Complex to Cell Poles 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40248.
The exocyst complex is essential for many exocytic events, by tethering vesicles at the plasma membrane for fusion. In fission yeast, polarized exocytosis for growth relies on the combined action of the exocyst at cell poles and myosin-driven transport along actin cables. We report here the identification of fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe Sec3 protein, which we identified through sequence homology of its PH-like domain. Like other exocyst subunits, sec3 is required for secretion and cell division. Cells deleted for sec3 are only conditionally lethal and can proliferate when osmotically stabilized. Sec3 is redundant with Exo70 for viability and for the localization of other exocyst subunits, suggesting these components act as exocyst tethers at the plasma membrane. Consistently, Sec3 localizes to zones of growth independently of other exocyst subunits but depends on PIP2 and functional Cdc42. FRAP analysis shows that Sec3, like all other exocyst subunits, localizes to cell poles largely independently of the actin cytoskeleton. However, we show that Sec3, Exo70 and Sec5 are transported by the myosin V Myo52 along actin cables. These data suggest that the exocyst holocomplex, including Sec3 and Exo70, is present on exocytic vesicles, which can reach cell poles by either myosin-driven transport or random walk.
PMCID: PMC3386988  PMID: 22768263
20.  Conformational transition of Sec machinery inferred from bacterial SecYE structures 
Nature  2008;455(7215):988-991.
Over 30% of proteins are secreted across or integrated into membranes. Their newly synthesized forms contain either cleavable signal sequences or non-cleavable membrane anchor sequences, which direct them to the evolutionarily conserved Sec translocon (SecYEG in prokaryotes and Sec61, comprising α-, γ- and β-subunits, in eukaryotes). The translocon then functions as a protein-conducting channel1. These processes of protein localization occur either at or after translation. In bacteria, the SecA ATPase2,3 drives post-translational translocation. The only high-resolution structure of a translocon available so far is that for SecYEβ from the archaeon Methanococcus jannaschii4, which lacks SecA. Here we present the 3.2-Å-resolution crystal structure of the SecYE translocon from a SecA-containing organism, Thermus thermophilus. The structure, solved as a complex with an anti-SecY Fab fragment, revealed a ‘pre-open’ state of SecYE, in which several transmembrane helices are shifted, as compared to the previous SecYEβ structure4, to create a hydrophobic crack open to the cytoplasm. Fab and SecA bind to a common site at the tip of the cytoplasmic domain of SecY. Molecular dynamics and disulphide mapping analyses suggest that the pre-open state might represent a SecYE conformational transition that is inducible by SecA binding. Moreover, we identified a SecA–SecYE interface that comprises SecA residues originally buried inside the protein, indicating that both the channel and the motor components of the Sec machinery undergo cooperative conformational changes on formation of the functional complex.
PMCID: PMC2590585  PMID: 18923527
21.  Identification of Sec36p, Sec37p, and Sec38p: Components of Yeast Complex That Contains Sec34p and Sec35p 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(5):1484-1500.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteins Sec34p and Sec35p are components of a large cytosolic complex involved in protein transport through the secretory pathway. Characterization of a new secretion mutant led us to identify SEC36, which encodes a new component of this complex. Sec36p binds to Sec34p and Sec35p, and mutation of SEC36 disrupts the complex, as determined by gel filtration. Missense mutations of SEC36 are lethal with mutations in COPI subunits, indicating a functional connection between the Sec34p/sec35p complex and the COPI vesicle coat. Affinity purification of proteins that bind to Sec35p-myc allowed identification of two additional proteins in the complex. We call these two conserved proteins Sec37p and Sec38p. Disruption of either SEC37 or SEC38 affects the size of the complex that contains Sec34p and Sec35p. We also examined COD4, COD5, and DOR1, three genes recently reported to encode proteins that bind to Sec35p. Each of the eight genes that encode components of the Sec34p/sec35p complex was tested for its contribution to cell growth, protein transport, and the integrity of the complex. These tests indicate two general types of subunits: Sec34p, Sec35p, Sec36p, and Sec38p seem to form the essential core of a complex to which Sec37p, Cod4p, Cod5p, and Dor1p seem to be peripherally attached.
PMCID: PMC111121  PMID: 12006647
22.  SM proteins Sly1 and Vps33 co-assemble with Sec17 and SNARE complexes to oppose SNARE disassembly by Sec18 
eLife  2014;3:e02272.
Secretory and endolysosomal fusion events are driven by SNAREs and cofactors, including Sec17/α-SNAP, Sec18/NSF, and Sec1/Munc18 (SM) proteins. SMs are essential for fusion in vivo, but the basis of this requirement is enigmatic. We now report that, in addition to their established roles as fusion accelerators, SM proteins Sly1 and Vps33 directly shield SNARE complexes from Sec17- and Sec18-mediated disassembly. In vivo, wild-type Sly1 and Vps33 function are required to withstand overproduction of Sec17. In vitro, Sly1 and Vps33 impede SNARE complex disassembly by Sec18 and ATP. Unexpectedly, Sec17 directly promotes selective loading of Sly1 and Vps33 onto cognate SNARE complexes. A large thermodynamic barrier limits SM binding, implying that significant conformational rearrangements are involved. In a working model, Sec17 and SMs accelerate fusion mediated by cognate SNARE complexes and protect them from NSF-mediated disassembly, while mis-assembled or non-cognate SNARE complexes are eliminated through kinetic proofreading by Sec18.
eLife digest
Eukaryotic organisms, from single-celled yeast to humans, divide their cells into membrane-bound compartments (organelles) of distinct function. To move from one compartment to another, or to enter or exit a cell, large molecules like proteins are packaged into small membrane sacs called vesicles.
To release its cargo, the membrane of a vesicle must fuse with the membrane of the correct destination compartment. The SNARE family of proteins plays a key role in this fusion process. As the membranes of a vesicle and target compartment come close, SNARE proteins located on each membrane form a SNARE complex that tethers the vesicle in place and causes the two membranes fuse. SNARE proteins do not act alone in this process: the SM family of proteins also plays an essential role in SNARE-mediated membrane fusion. However, it is still not clear exactly why the SM proteins are needed.
Lobingier et al. used the yeast model organism and biochemical studies with purified proteins to show that SM proteins help SNARE complexes form at the right time by regulating the delicate balance between SNARE complex formation and disassembly. This is achieved through the interplay of SM proteins and two other proteins (Sec17 and Sec18). Sec17 is known to load Sec18 onto SNARE complexes to break them apart. Lobingier et al. showed that Sec17 can also load SM proteins on SNARE complexes. This hinders Sec18 action, and so helps to keep the SNARE complexes intact. Because each SM protein tested only binds to the SNARE complex that should function at the membrane where the SM protein resides, these findings suggest SM proteins perform quality control at potential sites of membrane fusion.
PMCID: PMC4060006  PMID: 24837546
membrane; SNARE; docking; HOPS; lysosome; Golgi; S. cerevisiae
23.  Study of the Plant COPII Vesicle Coat Subunits by Functional Complementation of Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mutants 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90072.
The formation and budding of endoplasmic reticulum ER-derived vesicles depends on the COPII coat protein complex that was first identified in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The ER-associated Sec12 and the Sar1 GTPase initiate the COPII coat formation by recruiting the Sec23–Sec24 heterodimer following the subsequent recruitment of the Sec13–Sec31 heterotetramer. In yeast, there is usually one gene encoding each COPII protein and these proteins are essential for yeast viability, whereas the plant genome encodes multiple isoforms of all COPII subunits. Here, we used a systematic yeast complementation assay to assess the functionality of Arabidopsis thaliana COPII proteins. In this study, the different plant COPII subunits were expressed in their corresponding temperature-sensitive yeast mutant strain to complement their thermosensitivity and secretion phenotypes. Secretion was assessed using two different yeast cargos: the soluble α-factor pheromone and the membranous v-SNARE (vesicle-soluble NSF (N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor) attachment protein receptor) Snc1 involved in the fusion of the secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane. This complementation study allowed the identification of functional A. thaliana COPII proteins for the Sec12, Sar1, Sec24 and Sec13 subunits that could represent an active COPII complex in plant cells. Moreover, we found that AtSec12 and AtSec23 were co-immunoprecipitated with AtSar1 in total cell extract of 15 day-old seedlings of A. thaliana. This demonstrates that AtSar1, AtSec12 and AtSec23 can form a protein complex that might represent an active COPII complex in plant cells.
PMCID: PMC3934973  PMID: 24587212
24.  Promiscuous targeting of polytopic membrane proteins to SecYEG or YidC by the Escherichia coli signal recognition particle 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(3):464-479.
The YidC insertase also integrates multispanning membrane proteins that had been considered to be exclusively SecYEG dependent. Only membrane proteins that require SecA can be inserted only via SecYEG. Targeting to YidC is SRP dependent, and the C-terminus of YidC cross-links to SRP, FtsY, and ribosomal subunits.
Protein insertion into the bacterial inner membrane is facilitated by SecYEG or YidC. Although SecYEG most likely constitutes the major integration site, small membrane proteins have been shown to integrate via YidC. We show that YidC can also integrate multispanning membrane proteins such as mannitol permease or TatC, which had been considered to be exclusively integrated by SecYEG. Only SecA-dependent multispanning membrane proteins strictly require SecYEG for integration, which suggests that SecA can only interact with the SecYEG translocon, but not with the YidC insertase. Targeting of multispanning membrane proteins to YidC is mediated by signal recognition particle (SRP), and we show by site-directed cross-linking that the C-terminus of YidC is in contact with SRP, the SRP receptor, and ribosomal proteins. These findings indicate that SRP recognizes membrane proteins independent of the downstream integration site and that many membrane proteins can probably use either SecYEG or YidC for integration. Because protein synthesis is much slower than protein transport, the use of YidC as an additional integration site for multispanning membrane proteins may prevent a situation in which the majority of SecYEG complexes are occupied by translating ribosomes during cotranslational insertion, impeding the translocation of secretory proteins.
PMCID: PMC3268725  PMID: 22160593
25.  Essential function of Drosophila Sec6 in apical exocytosis of epithelial photoreceptor cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2005;169(4):635-646.
Polarized exocytosis plays a major role in development and cell differentiation but the mechanisms that target exocytosis to specific membrane domains in animal cells are still poorly understood. We characterized Drosophila Sec6, a component of the exocyst complex that is believed to tether secretory vesicles to specific plasma membrane sites. sec6 mutations cause cell lethality and disrupt plasma membrane growth. In developing photoreceptor cells (PRCs), Sec6 but not Sec5 or Sec8 shows accumulation at adherens junctions. In late PRCs, Sec6, Sec5, and Sec8 colocalize at the rhabdomere, the light sensing subdomain of the apical membrane. PRCs with reduced Sec6 function accumulate secretory vesicles and fail to transport proteins to the rhabdomere, but show normal localization of proteins to the apical stalk membrane and the basolateral membrane. Furthermore, we show that Rab11 forms a complex with Sec5 and that Sec5 interacts with Sec6 suggesting that the exocyst is a Rab11 effector that facilitates protein transport to the apical rhabdomere in Drosophila PRCs.
PMCID: PMC2171699  PMID: 15897260

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