Cytosolic coat proteins (COPs) regulate membrane traffic in eukaryotic cells. Three classes of coat protein complexes have so far been identified: clathrin and its adaptor proteins, coatomer (COPI), and COPII. Coatomer (composed of seven different subunits) and ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF), which form the COPI coat, are required for budding of coated vesicles from membranes. COPI has been implicated in several steps of transport from the intermediate compartment to the cis-Golgi network, through cisternae of the Golgi stack, and is essential for retrieval to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of membrane proteins containing the carboxy-terminal dilysine ER-retention motif. A family of structurally and functionally related COPs may regulate all membrane traffic steps in eukaryotic cells.