ArfGAP1 Function in COPI Mediated Membrane Traffic: Currently Debated Models and Comparison to Other Coat-Binding ArfGAPs

Histol Histopathol. 2012 Sep;27(9):1143-53. doi: 10.14670/HH-27.1143.


The ArfGAPs are a family of proteins containing an ArfGAP catalytic domain that induces the hydrolysis of GTP bound to the small guanine nucleotide binding-protein ADP-ribosylation factor (Arf). Functional models for Arfs, which are regulators of membrane traffic, are based on the idea that guanine nucleotide-binding proteins function as switches: Arf with GTP bound is active and binds to effector proteins; the conversion of GTP to GDP inactivates Arf. The cellular activities of ArfGAPs have been examined primarily as regulatory proteins that inactivate Arf; however, Arf function in membrane traffic does not strictly adhere to the concept of a simple switch, adding complexity to models explaining the role of ArfGAPs. Here, we review the literature addressing the function Arf and ArfGAP1 in COPI mediated transport, focusing on two critical and integrated functions of membrane traffic, cargo sorting and vesicle coat polymerization. We briefly discuss other ArfGAPs that may have similar function in Arf-dependent membrane traffic outside the ER-Golgi.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Coat Protein Complex I / metabolism*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport / physiology*


  • ARFGAP1 protein, human
  • Coat Protein Complex I
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins