Retention and retrieval in the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 1994 Aug;6(4):517-21. doi: 10.1016/0955-0674(94)90070-1.


Resident proteins of the exocytic pathway contain at least two types of information in their primary sequence for determining their subcellular location. The first type of information is found at the carboxyl terminus of soluble proteins of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and in the cytoplasmic domain of some ER and Golgi membrane proteins. It acts as a retrieval signal, returning proteins that have left the compartment in which they reside. The second type of information has been found in the membrane-spanning domain of several ER and Golgi proteins and, though the mechanism by which it operates is still unclear, it acts as a retention signal, keeping the protein at a particular location within the organelle. The presence of both a retrieval signal and a retention signal in a trans-Golgi network resident protein suggests that more than one mechanism operates to ensure correct localization of resident proteins along the exocytic pathway.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism
  • Protein Sorting Signals / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Oligopeptides
  • Protein Sorting Signals