The KDEL receptor couples to Gαq/11 to activate Src kinases and regulate transport through the Golgi

EMBO J. 2012 Jun 29;31(13):2869-81. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2012.134. Epub 2012 May 11.


Membrane trafficking involves large fluxes of cargo and membrane across separate compartments. These fluxes must be regulated by control systems to maintain homoeostasis. While control systems for other key functions such as protein folding or the cell cycle are well known, the mechanisms that control secretory transport are poorly understood. We have previously described a signalling circuit operating at the Golgi complex that regulates intra-Golgi trafficking and is initiated by the KDEL receptor (KDEL-R), a protein previously known to mediate protein recycling from the Golgi to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Here, we investigated the KDEL-R signalling mechanism. We show that the KDEL-R is predicted to fold like a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), and that it binds and activates the heterotrimeric signalling G-protein Gα(q/11) which, in turn, regulates transport through the Golgi complex. These findings reveal an unexpected GPCR-like mode of action of the KDEL-R and shed light on a core molecular control mechanism of intra-Golgi traffic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11 / metabolism*
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Receptors, Peptide / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism*


  • KDEL receptor
  • Receptors, Peptide
  • src-Family Kinases
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gq-G11