Taking the Scenic Route: Biosynthetic Traffic to the Plasma Membrane in Polarized Epithelial Cells

Authors

  • Heike Fölsch,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology, Northwestern University, 2205 Tech Drive, Evanston, IL 60208
      Heike Fölsch, h-folsch@northwestern.edu
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  • Polly E. Mattila,

    1. Department of Medicine University of Pittsburgh, 978.1 Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261
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  • Ora A. Weisz

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine University of Pittsburgh, 978.1 Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261
    2. Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh 978.1 Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261
      Ora A. Weisz, weisz@pitt.edu
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Heike Fölsch, h-folsch@northwestern.edu

Ora A. Weisz, weisz@pitt.edu

Abstract

The maintenance of epithelial cell function requires the establishment and continuous renewal of differentiated apical and basolateral plasma membrane domains with distinct lipid and protein compositions. Newly synthesized proteins destined for either surface domain are processed along the biosynthetic pathway and segregated into distinct subsets of transport carriers emanating from the trans-Golgi network. Recent studies have illuminated additional complexities in the subsequent delivery of these proteins to the cell surface. In particular, multiple routes to the apical and basolateral cell surfaces have been uncovered, and many of these involve indirect passage through endocytic compartments. This review summarizes our current understanding of these routes and discusses open issues that remain to be clarified.

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