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.
Activation of the rab GTPase, Sec4p, by its exchange factor, Sec2p, is needed for polarized transport of secretory vesicles to exocytic sites and for exocytosis. A small region in the C-terminal half of Sec2p regulates its localization. Loss of this region results in temperature-sensitive growth and the depolarized accumulation of secretory vesicles. Here, we show that Sec2p associates with the exocyst, an octameric effector of Sec4p involved in tethering secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane. Specifically, the exocyst subunit Sec15p directly interacts with Sec2p. This interaction normally occurs on secretory vesicles and serves to couple nucleotide exchange on Sec4p to the recruitment of the Sec4p effector. The mislocalization of Sec2p mutants correlates with dramatically enhanced binding to the exocyst complex. We propose that Sec2p is normally released from the exocyst after vesicle tethering so that it can recycle onto a new round of vesicles. The mislocalization of Sec2p mutants results from a failure to be released from Sec15p, blocking this recycling pathway.
Sec3p is a component of the exocyst complex that tethers secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane at exocytic sites in preparation for fusion. Unlike all other exocyst structural genes, SEC3 is not essential for growth. Cells lacking Sec3p grow and secrete surprisingly well at 25°C; however, late markers of secretion, such as the vesicle marker Sec4p and the exocyst subunit Sec8p, localize more diffusely within the bud. Furthermore, sec3Δ cells are strikingly round relative to wild-type cells and are unable to form pointed mating projections in response to α factor. These phenotypes support the proposed role of Sec3p as a spatial landmark for secretion. We also find that cells lacking Sec3p exhibit a dramatic defect in the inheritance of cortical ER into the bud, whereas the inheritance of mitochondria and Golgi is unaffected. Overexpression of Sec3p results in a prominent patch of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) marker Sec61p-GFP at the bud tip. Cortical ER inheritance in yeast has been suggested to involve the capture of ER tubules at the bud tip. Sec3p may act in this process as a spatial landmark for cortical ER inheritance.
Exocytosis in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae occurs at discrete domains of the plasma membrane. The protein complex that tethers incoming vesicles to sites of secretion is known as the exocyst. We have used photobleaching recovery experiments to characterize the dynamic behavior of the eight subunits that make up the exocyst. One subset (Sec5p, Sec6p, Sec8p, Sec10p, Sec15p, and Exo84p) exhibits mobility similar to that of the vesicle-bound Rab family protein Sec4p, whereas Sec3p and Exo70p exhibit substantially more stability. Disruption of actin assembly abolishes the ability of the first subset of subunits to recover after photobleaching, whereas Sec3p and Exo70p are resistant. Immunogold electron microscopy and epifluorescence video microscopy indicate that all exocyst subunits, except for Sec3p, are associated with secretory vesicles as they arrive at exocytic sites. Assembly of the exocyst occurs when the first subset of subunits, delivered on vesicles, joins Sec3p and Exo70p on the plasma membrane. Exocyst assembly serves to both target and tether vesicles to sites of exocytosis.
The octameric exocyst complex is associated with the junctional complex and recycling endosomes and is proposed to selectively tether cargo vesicles directed toward the basolateral surface of polarized Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. We observed that the exocyst subunits Sec6, Sec8, and Exo70 were localized to early endosomes, transferrin-positive common recycling endosomes, and Rab11a-positive apical recycling endosomes of polarized MDCK cells. Consistent with its localization to multiple populations of endosomes, addition of function-blocking Sec8 antibodies to streptolysin-O–permeabilized cells revealed exocyst requirements for several endocytic pathways including basolateral recycling, apical recycling, and basolateral-to-apical transcytosis. The latter was selectively dependent on interactions between the small GTPase Rab11a and Sec15A and was inhibited by expression of the C-terminus of Sec15A or down-regulation of Sec15A expression using shRNA. These results indicate that the exocyst complex may be a multipurpose regulator of endocytic traffic directed toward both poles of polarized epithelial cells and that transcytotic traffic is likely to require Rab11a-dependent recruitment and modulation of exocyst function, likely through interactions with Sec15A.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kin1 and Kin2 are Saccharomyces cerevisiae counterparts of Par-1, the Caenorhabditis elegans kinase essential for the establishment of polarity in the one cell embryo. Here, we present evidence for a novel link between Kin1, Kin2, and the secretory machinery of the budding yeast. We isolated KIN1 and KIN2 as suppressors of a mutant form of Rho3, a Rho-GTPase acting in polarized trafficking. Genetic analysis suggests that KIN1 and KIN2 act downstream of the Rab-GTPase Sec4, its exchange factor Sec2, and several components of the vesicle tethering complex, the Exocyst. We show that Kin1 and Kin2 physically interact with the t-SNARE Sec9 and the Lgl homologue Sro7, proteins acting at the final stage of exocytosis. Structural analysis of Kin2 reveals that its catalytic activity is essential for its function in the secretory pathway and implicates the conserved 42-amino acid tail at the carboxy terminal of the kinase in autoinhibition. Finally, we find that Kin1 and Kin2 induce phosphorylation of t-SNARE Sec9 in vivo and stimulate its release from the plasma membrane. In summary, we report the finding that yeast Par-1 counterparts are associated with and regulate the function of the exocytic apparatus via phosphorylation of Sec9.
Exocyst is an evolutionarily conserved vesicle tethering complex functioning especially in the last stage of exocytosis. Homologs of its eight canonical subunits – Sec3, Sec5, Sec6, Sec8, Sec10, Sec15, Exo70, and Exo84 – were found also in higher plants and confirmed to form complexes in vivo, and to participate in cell growth including polarized expansion of pollen tubes and root hairs. Here we present results of a phylogenetic study of land plant exocyst subunits encoded by a selection of completely sequenced genomes representing a variety of plant, mostly angiosperm, lineages. According to their evolution histories, plant exocyst subunits can be divided into several groups. The core subunits Sec6, Sec8, and Sec10, together with Sec3 and Sec5, underwent few, if any fixed duplications in the tracheophytes (though they did amplify in the moss Physcomitrella patens), while others form larger families, with the number of paralogs ranging typically from two to eight per genome (Sec15, Exo84) to several dozens per genome (Exo70). Most of the diversity, which can be in some cases traced down to the origins of land plants, can be attributed to the peripheral subunits Exo84 and, in particular, Exo70. As predicted previously, early land plants (including possibly also the Rhyniophytes) encoded three ancestral Exo70 paralogs which further diversified in the course of land plant evolution. Our results imply that plants do not have a single “Exocyst complex” – instead, they appear to possess a diversity of exocyst variants unparalleled among other organisms studied so far. This feature might perhaps be directly related to the demands of building and maintenance of the complicated and spatially diverse structures of the endomembranes and cell surfaces in multicellular land plants.
exocyst; phylogeny; land plants; co-evolution; gene duplication
Epithelial cyst and tubule formation are critical processes that
involve transient, highly choreographed changes in cell polarity.
Factors controlling these changes in polarity are largely unknown. One
candidate factor is the highly conserved eight-member protein complex
called the exocyst. We show that during tubulogenesis in an in vitro
model system the exocyst relocalized along growing tubules consistent
with changes in cell polarity. In yeast, the exocyst subunit Sec10p is
a crucial component linking polarized exocytic vesicles with the rest
of the exocyst complex and, ultimately, the plasma membrane. When the
exocyst subunit human Sec10 was exogenously expressed in
epithelial Madin-Darby canine kidney cells, there was a selective
increase in the synthesis and delivery of apical and basolateral
secretory proteins and a basolateral plasma membrane protein, but not
an apical plasma membrane protein. Overexpression of human Sec10
resulted in more efficient and rapid cyst formation and increased
tubule formation upon stimulation with hepatocyte growth factor. We
conclude that the exocyst plays a central role in the development of
epithelial cysts and tubules.
The exocyst consists of eight rod-shaped subunits that align in a side-by-side manner to tether secretory vesicles to the plasma membrane in preparation for fusion. Two subunits, Sec3p and Exo70p, localize to exocytic sites by an actin-independent pathway, whereas the other six ride on vesicles along actin cables. Here, we demonstrate that three of the four domains of Exo70p are essential for growth. The remaining domain, domain C, is not essential but when deleted, it leads to synthetic lethality with many secretory mutations, defects in exocyst assembly of exocyst components Sec5p and Sec6p, and loss of actin-independent localization. This is analogous to a deletion of the amino-terminal domain of Sec3p, which prevents an interaction with Cdc42p or Rho1p and blocks its actin-independent localization. The two mutations are synthetically lethal, even in the presence of high copy number suppressors that can bypass complete deletions of either single gene. Although domain C binds Rho3p, loss of the Exo70p-Rho3p interaction does not account for the synthetic lethal interactions or the exocyst assembly defects. The results suggest that either Exo70p or Sec3p must associate with the plasma membrane for the exocyst to function as a vesicle tether.
In yeast, assembly of exocytic soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive fusion protein (NSF) attachment protein receptor (SNARE) complexes between the secretory vesicle SNARE Sncp and the plasma membrane SNAREs Ssop and Sec9p occurs at a late stage of the exocytic reaction. Mutations that block either secretory vesicle delivery or tethering prevent SNARE complex assembly and the localization of Sec1p, a SNARE complex binding protein, to sites of secretion. By contrast, wild-type levels of SNARE complexes persist in the sec1-1 mutant after a secretory block is imposed, suggesting a role for Sec1p after SNARE complex assembly. In the sec18-1 mutant, cis-SNARE complexes containing surface-accessible Sncp accumulate in the plasma membrane. Thus, one function of Sec18p is to disassemble SNARE complexes on the postfusion membrane.
NSF; membrane fusion; SNAREs; exocyst; Sec1
The exocyst is an octameric protein complex implicated in tethering post-Golgi secretory vesicles at the plasma membrane in preparation for fusion. However, it is not clear how the exocyst is targeted to and physically associates with specific domains of the plasma membrane and how its functions are regulated at those regions. We demonstrate that the N terminus of the exocyst component Sec3 directly interacts with phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. In addition, we have identified key residues in Sec3 that are critical for its binding to the guanosine triphosphate–bound form of Cdc42. Genetic analyses indicate that the dual interactions of Sec3 with phospholipids and Cdc42 control its function in yeast cells. Disrupting these interactions not only blocks exocytosis and affects exocyst polarization but also leads to defects in cell morphogenesis. We propose that the interactions of Sec3 with phospholipids and Cdc42 play important roles in exocytosis and polarized cell growth.
Live-cell imaging of the exocyst subunit Sec8 reveals how the protein’s spatiotemporal dynamics correlate with its roles in vesicle fusion.
Tethers play ubiquitous roles in membrane trafficking and influence the specificity of vesicle attachment. Unlike soluble N-ethyl-maleimide–sensitive fusion attachment protein receptors (SNAREs), the spatiotemporal dynamics of tethers relative to vesicle fusion are poorly characterized. The most extensively studied tethering complex is the exocyst, which spatially targets vesicles to sites on the plasma membrane. By using a mammalian genetic replacement strategy, we were able to assemble fluorescently tagged Sec8 into the exocyst complex, which was shown to be functional by biochemical, trafficking, and morphological criteria. Ultrasensitive live-cell imaging revealed that Sec8-TagRFP moved to the cell cortex on vesicles, which preferentially originated from the endocytic recycling compartment. Surprisingly, Sec8 remained with vesicles until full dilation of the fusion pore, supporting potential coupling with SNARE fusion machinery. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis of Sec8 at cell protrusions revealed that a significant fraction was immobile. Additionally, Sec8 dynamically repositioned to the site of membrane expansion, suggesting that it may respond to local cues during early cell polarization.
The exocyst is an evolutionarily conserved octameric protein complex that tethers post-Golgi secretory vesicles at the plasma membrane for exocytosis. To elucidate the mechanism of vesicle tethering, it is important to understand how the exocyst physically associates with the plasma membrane (PM). In this study, we report that the mammalian exocyst subunit Exo70 associates with the PM through its direct interaction with phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2). Furthermore, we have identified key conserved residues at the C-terminus of Exo70 that are crucial for the interaction of Exo70 with PI(4,5)P2. Disrupting Exo70-PI(4,5)P2 interaction abolished the membrane association of Exo70. We have also found that wild-type Exo70 but not the PI(4,5)P2-binding–deficient Exo70 mutant is capable of recruiting other exocyst components to the PM. Using the ts045 vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein trafficking assay, we demonstrate that Exo70-PI(4,5)P2 interaction is critical for the docking and fusion of post-Golgi secretory vesicles, but not for their transport to the PM.
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.
transport; exchange factor; yeast; Rab; vesicles
Rho GTPases are important regulators of polarity in eukaryotic cells. In yeast they are involved in regulating the docking and fusion of secretory vesicles with the cell surface. Our analysis of a Rho3 mutant that is unable to interact with the Exo70 subunit of the exocyst reveals a normal polarization of the exocyst complex as well as other polarity markers. We also find that there is no redundancy between the Rho3–Exo70 and Rho1–Sec3 pathways in the localization of the exocyst. This suggests that Rho3 and Cdc42 act to polarize exocytosis by activating the exocytic machinery at the membrane without the need to first recruit it to sites of polarized growth. Consistent with this model, we find that the ability of Rho3 and Cdc42 to hydrolyze GTP is not required for their role in secretion. Moreover, our analysis of the Sec3 subunit of the exocyst suggests that polarization of the exocyst may be a consequence rather than a cause of polarized exocytosis.
The accurate targeting of secretory vesicles to distinct sites on
the plasma membrane is necessary to achieve polarized growth and to
establish specialized domains at the surface of eukaryotic cells.
Members of a protein complex required for exocytosis, the exocyst, have
been localized to regions of active secretion in the budding yeast
Saccharomyces cerevisiae where they may function to
specify sites on the plasma membrane for vesicle docking and fusion. In
this study we have addressed the function of one member of the exocyst
complex, Sec10p. We have identified two functional domains of Sec10p
that act in a dominant-negative manner to inhibit cell growth upon
overexpression. Phenotypic and biochemical analysis of the
dominant-negative mutants points to a bifunctional role for Sec10p. One
domain, consisting of the amino-terminal two-thirds of Sec10p directly
interacts with Sec15p, another exocyst component. Overexpression of
this domain displaces the full-length Sec10 from the exocyst complex,
resulting in a block in exocytosis and an accumulation of secretory
vesicles. The carboxy-terminal domain of Sec10p does not interact with
other members of the exocyst complex and expression of this domain does
not cause a secretory defect. Rather, this mutant results in the
formation of elongated cells, suggesting that the second domain of
Sec10p is required for morphogenesis, perhaps regulating the
reorientation of the secretory pathway from the tip of the emerging
daughter cell toward the mother–daughter connection during cell cycle
The Sec34/35 complex was identified as one of the evolutionarily conserved protein complexes that regulates a cis-Golgi step in intracellular vesicular transport. We have identified three new proteins that associate with Sec35p and Sec34p in yeast cytosol. Mutations in these Sec34/35 complex subunits result in defects in basic Golgi functions, including glycosylation of secretory proteins, protein sorting, and retention of Golgi resident proteins. Furthermore, the Sec34/35 complex interacts genetically and physically with the Rab protein Ypt1p, intra-Golgi SNARE molecules, as well as with Golgi vesicle coat complex COPI. We propose that the Sec34/35 protein complex acts as a tether that connects cis-Golgi membranes and COPI-coated, retrogradely targeted intra-Golgi vesicles.
Golgi; Rab GTPase; SNARE; coatomer; Sec34/35p complex
Fusion of post-Golgi secretory vesicles with the plasma membrane in yeast requires the function of a Rab protein, Sec4p, and a set of v- and t-SNAREs, the Snc, Sso, and Sec9 proteins. We have tested the hypothesis that a selective interaction between Sec4p and the exocytic SNAREs is responsible for ensuring that secretory vesicles fuse with the plasma membrane but not with intracellular organelles. Assembly of Sncp and Ssop into a SNARE complex is defective in a sec4-8 mutant strain. However, Snc2p binds in vivo to many other syntaxin-like t-SNAREs, and binding of Sncp to the endosomal/Golgi t-SNARE Tlg2p is also reduced in sec4-8 cells. In addition, binding of Sncp to Ssop is reduced by mutations in two other Rab genes and four non-Rab genes that block the secretory pathway before the formation of secretory vesicles. In an alternate approach to look for selective Rab–SNARE interactions, we report that the nucleotide-free form of Sec4p coimmunoprecipitates with Ssop. However, Rab–SNARE binding is nonselective, because the nucleotide-free forms of six Rab proteins bind with similar low efficiency to three SNARE proteins, Ssop, Pep12p, and Sncp. We conclude that Rabs and SNAREs do not cooperate to specify the target membrane.
Vesicle transport requires four steps; vesicle formation, movement, tethering and fusion. In yeast, two Rab GTPases, Ypt31/32 are required for post-Golgi vesicle formation. A third Rab GTPase, Sec4, and the exocyst act in tethering and fusion of these vesicles. Vesicle production is coupled to transport via direct interaction between Ypt31/32 and the yeast myosin V, Myo2. Here we show that Myo2 interacts directly with Sec4, and the exocyst subunit Sec15. Disruption of these interactions results in compromised growth and the accumulation of secretory vesicles. We identified the Sec15-binding region on Myo2, and also identified residues on Sec15 required for interaction with Myo2. That Myo2 interacts with Sec15 uncovers additional roles for the exocyst as an adaptor for molecular motors, and implies similar roles for structurally related tethering complexes. Moreover, these studies predict that for many pathways, molecular motors attach to vesicles prior to their formation, and remain attached until fusion.
Sec2p is the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that activates the Rab GTPase Sec4p on secretory vesicles. Sec2p also binds a Rab acting earlier in the secretory pathway, Ypt32p-GTP, forming a RabGEF cascade. Ypt32p and the Sec4p effector Sec15p (a component of the exocyst complex) compete for binding to Sec2p. Indeed Ypt32p initially recruits Sec2p, but subsequently allows a handoff of active Sec2p/Sec4p to Sec15p. Intriguingly, Golgi-associated phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PI4P) works together with Ypt32-GTP in this context. PI4P inhibits Sec2p-Sec15p interactions, promoting recruitment of Sec2p by Ypt32p as secretory vesicles form. However, PI4P levels appear to decline as vesicles reach secretory sites, allowing Sec15p to replace Ypt32p as vesicles mature. In this way, the regulation of PI4P levels may switch Sec2p/Sec4p function during vesicle maturation, from a RabGEF recruitment cascade involving Ypt32p, to an effector positive feedback loop involving Sec15p.
In budding yeast, two classes of post-Golgi secretory vesicles carrying different sets of cargoes typified by Bgl2p and invertase are delivered to the plasma membrane for secretion. The exocyst is implicated in tethering these vesicles to the daughter cell membrane for exocytosis. In this study, we report that mutations in the exocyst component Exo70p predominantly block secretion of the Bgl2p vesicles. Furthermore, a defect in invertase vesicle trafficking caused by vps1Δ or pep12Δ in the exo70 mutant background is detrimental to the cell. The secretion defect in exo70 mutants was most pronounced during the early budding stage, which affected daughter cell growth. The selective secretion block does not occur at the vesicle formation or sorting stage because the exocytic vesicles are properly generated and protein processing is normal in the exo70 mutants. Our study suggests that Exo70p functions primarily at early stages of the cell cycle in Bgl2p vesicle secretion, which is critical for polarized cell growth.