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Coming to Grips With The Golgi

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Science  18 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5397, pp. 2172-2174
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5397.2172

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While the cell structure known as the Golgi apparatus is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its discovery, Golgi research still manages to show plenty of life. Indeed, new work is forcing cell biologists to reevaluate some of the key concepts produced by the past 10 to 15 years of work. Researchers know that the structure, which consists of stacks of flattened membrane sacs called cisternae surrounded by smaller membranous tubules and round sacs called vesicles, plays a key role in transporting some proteins through the cell. Until recently, they thought that the proteins pass across the Golgi stack in vesicles that bud off from one cisterna and then fuse with the next. But new work suggests a more dynamic picture in which the cisternae themselves carry the proteins forward, while the vesicles move backward to recycle components of the Golgi and endoplasmic reticulum to their sites of origin. This picture is already forcing researchers to rethink their notions of how new Golgi stacks are formed and also how the Golgi forms in the two daughters when a cell divides.