Cholesterol loading induces a block in the exit of VSVG from the TGN

Traffic. 2003 Nov;4(11):772-84. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0854.2003.00134.x.


Recent work from our laboratory demonstrated that increased cellular cholesterol content affects the structure of the Golgi apparatus. We have now investigated the functional consequences of the cholesterol-induced vesiculation of the Golgi apparatus and the role of actin for these changes. The results showed that cholesterol-induced vesiculation and dispersion of the Golgi apparatus is a reversible process and that reversal can be inhibited by cytochalasin D, an actin-disrupting reagent. Furthermore, electron microscopy revealed that jasplakinolide, which stabilizes actin filaments, prevented the dispersion, but not the vesiculation of the Golgi cisternae. Importantly, the different Golgi markers seemed to be separated even after vesiculation. To investigate whether transport through the different steps of the exocytic pathway was affected in cholesterol-treated cells, we visualized ER to plasma membrane transport by using ts045-VSVG-GFP. In COS-1 cells expressing ts045-VSVG-GFP increased cholesterol levels did not affect transport of VSVG into the vesiculated Golgi apparatus. However, increased levels of cholesterol resulted in retention of the nascent G protein in vesicles with the TGN-marker TGN46. Biotinylation of cell surface molecules to quantify arrival of VSVG at the plasma membrane confirmed that cholesterol treatment inhibited export of the VSVG protein. In conclusion, the data show that transport of VSVG into/through a vesiculated Golgi is feasible, but that cholesterol loading inhibits exit of VSVG from the vesicles containing TGN markers. Furthermore, the data illustrate the importance of actin filaments for Golgi structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Biomarkers
  • Biotinylation
  • COS Cells
  • Cholesterol / chemistry
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Cyclodextrins / chemistry
  • Cyclodextrins / metabolism
  • Depsipeptides*
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Golgi Apparatus / drug effects
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Golgi Apparatus / ultrastructure
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Peptides, Cyclic / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta-Cyclodextrins*
  • trans-Golgi Network / drug effects
  • trans-Golgi Network / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Cyclodextrins
  • Depsipeptides
  • G protein, vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • beta-Cyclodextrins
  • methyl-beta-cyclodextrin
  • jasplakinolide
  • Cholesterol