The mechanism by which peripheral membrane proteins are targeted to the cytoplasmic face of the Golgi apparatus is poorly understood. Previously, we have identified a carboxy-terminal domain of the trans-Golgi-network (TGN) protein p230 that is responsible for Golgi localisation . Here, we report the identification of a similar Golgi-localisation domain (GLD, also termed the 'GRIP' domain - see the paper by Munro and Nichols elsewhere in this issue) in a family of putative peripheral membrane proteins from lower and higher eucaryotes. The majority of family members have a domain structure similar to that of p230, with extensive coiled-coil regions (>80%) and the potential GLD located in a non-coiled-coil domain at the carboxyl terminus. Previously reported proteins in this family include human golgin-97 and Saccharomyces cerevisiae Imh1p. By constructing chimeric cDNAs encoding carboxy-terminal regions of these family members fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP), we have directly demonstrated that the GLD of p230, golgin-97, the newly identified human protein GCC1p and yeast Imh1p functions as a Golgi-targeting domain in transfected mammalian cells. Site-directed mutagenesis of the GLDs identified two conserved aromatic residues that are critical for the function of this targeting domain. Endogenous p230 was displaced from the Golgi membranes in transfected cells expressing high levels of GFP fused to the GLD of either p230 or golgin-97, indicating that different GLDs interact with similar membrane determinants. Thus, we have identified a family of coiled-coil proteins that share a domain shown to be sufficient for the localisation of peripheral membrane proteins to the Golgi apparatus.