The selective recognition, sorting and vesicle-mediated transport of proteins through the secretory pathway represents an essential feature of all eukaryotic cells. The precise mechanisms and machinery that direct these processes are not yet known. We have isolated a large collection of yeast mutants that exhibit severe and specific defects in protein delivery to the lysosome-like vacuole in yeast. The defective genes in these mutants are likely to encode components of the cells' protein sorting apparatus. Toward an understanding of the molecular and biochemical basis of the vacuolar protein sorting defects in these mutants (vps), we propose to characterize the roles certain of the VPS genes and their products play in the sorting and delivery of vacuolar enzymes from the Golgi complex to the vacuole. The fundamental similarities between yeast and other eukaryotic cells in their pathways for protein delivery, together with the powerful genetic and molecular approaches available in yeast, make yeast an ideal organism for addressing these problems. The medical importance of this sorting pathway is exemplified by the serious lysosomal storage diseases (e.g. I-cell disease, pseudo-Hurler polydystrophy as well as other diseases (e.g. osteoporosis and the progression of certain types of cancer) that result from, or are correlated with, mislocalization of lysosomal hydrolases. Eight VPS genes have been cloned and sequenced in the lab. To determine where and how the products of these genes act to direct the sorting and delivery of vacuolar hydrolases, we propose to: 1) use indirect immunofluorescence and cell fractionation techniques to determine the subcellular location of the VPS gene products, 2) isolate temperature- conditional vps alleles to analyze the onset kinetics of the vacuolar protein sorting defects and to identify potential intermediates in the sorting process, 3) use genetic suppression and chemical cross-linking agents to identify and characterize interactions among VPS gene products, 4) employ an in vitro assay that reconstitutes vacuolar protein delivery to characterize the stage specific requirements and functions of Vps proteins, and 5) clone and sequence functional homologs for certain VPS genes from cDNA libraries of Schizosaccharomyces pombe as well as mammalian (human) cell types to begin an analysis of the functional role VPS gene products play in other eukaryotes. It is anticipated that these studies will result in a detailed view of the organization and control of protein sorting and vesicular traffic between the Golgi complex and the vacuole/lysosome in yeast and other eukaryotes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Molecular Cytology Study Section (CTY)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California San Diego
Schools of Medicine
La Jolla
United States
Zip Code
Darsow, T; Burd, C G; Emr, S D (1998) Acidic di-leucine motif essential for AP-3-dependent sorting and restriction of the functional specificity of the Vam3p vacuolar t-SNARE. J Cell Biol 142:913-22
Gaynor, E C; Chen, C Y; Emr, S D et al. (1998) ARF is required for maintenance of yeast Golgi and endosome structure and function. Mol Biol Cell 9:653-70
Gaynor, E C; Graham, T R; Emr, S D (1998) COPI in ER/Golgi and intra-Golgi transport: do yeast COPI mutants point the way? Biochim Biophys Acta 1404:33-51
Burd, C G; Peterson, M; Cowles, C R et al. (1997) A novel Sec18p/NSF-dependent complex required for Golgi-to-endosome transport in yeast. Mol Biol Cell 8:1089-104
Srinivasan, S; Seaman, M; Nemoto, Y et al. (1997) Disruption of three phosphatidylinositol-polyphosphate 5-phosphatase genes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae results in pleiotropic abnormalities of vacuole morphology, cell shape, and osmohomeostasis. Eur J Cell Biol 74:350-60
Cowles, C R; Odorizzi, G; Payne, G S et al. (1997) The AP-3 adaptor complex is essential for cargo-selective transport to the yeast vacuole. Cell 91:109-18
Darsow, T; Rieder, S E; Emr, S D (1997) A multispecificity syntaxin homologue, Vam3p, essential for autophagic and biosynthetic protein transport to the vacuole. J Cell Biol 138:517-29
Cowles, C R; Snyder, W B; Burd, C G et al. (1997) Novel Golgi to vacuole delivery pathway in yeast: identification of a sorting determinant and required transport component. EMBO J 16:2769-82
Radisky, D C; Snyder, W B; Emr, S D et al. (1997) Characterization of VPS41, a gene required for vacuolar trafficking and high-affinity iron transport in yeast. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 94:5662-6
Rieder, S E; Emr, S D (1997) A novel RING finger protein complex essential for a late step in protein transport to the yeast vacuole. Mol Biol Cell 8:2307-27

Showing the most recent 10 out of 48 publications