The Journal of cell biology

The small G protein Arl1 directs the trans-Golgi-specific targeting of the Arf1 exchange factors BIG1 and BIG2.

PMID 22291037


The small G protein Arf1 regulates Golgi traffic and is activated by two related types of guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF). GBF1 acts at the cis-Golgi, whereas BIG1 and its close paralog BIG2 act at the trans-Golgi. Peripheral membrane proteins such as these GEFs are often recruited to membranes by small G proteins, but the basis for specific recruitment of Arf GEFs, and hence Arfs, to Golgi membranes is not understood. In this paper, we report a liposome-based affinity purification method to identify effectors for small G proteins of the Arf family. We validate this with the Drosophila melanogaster Arf1 orthologue (Arf79F) and the related class II Arf (Arf102F), which showed a similar pattern of effector binding. Applying the method to the Arf-like G protein Arl1, we found that it binds directly to Sec71, the Drosophila ortholog of BIG1 and BIG2, via an N-terminal region. We show that in mammalian cells, Arl1 is necessary for Golgi recruitment of BIG1 and BIG2 but not GBF1. Thus, Arl1 acts to direct a trans-Golgi-specific Arf1 GEF, and hence active Arf1, to the trans side of the Golgi.