Morphological dynamics and membrane transport within the living Golgi apparatus of astrocytes labeled with NBD-ceramide were imaged using both electronically enhanced fluorescence video and laser confocal microscopy. In time-lapse recordings, continuous tubulovesicular processes are observed to emerge from trans-Golgi elements and extend along microtubules at average rates of 0.4 microns/s. In addition, discrete fluorescent particles are observed to emerge from the trans-Golgi and subsequently migrate along microtubules at comparable velocities. Frequently, tubulovesicular processes form stable connections that interlink adjacent trans-Golgi elements into an extensive reticulum. Laser photobleaching-recovery experiments reveal that tubulovesicular processes can provide direct pathways for the diffusion of membrane lipids between joined trans-Golgi elements. These results suggest that microtubule-based transport and membrane fusion can operate to interconnect certain cisternal membranes of adjacent Golgi elements within the cell.