Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins are resistant to solubilization with Triton X-100 at 4 °C, and they can be recovered in Triton-insoluble membranes (TIMs) that float to a characteristic buoyant density. Because the GPI structure itself has been shown to target GPI-anchored proteins to TIMs, we investigated the association of GPI-anchor intermediates with TIMs. GPI-anchor biosynthesis involves a pathway of some 10 steps that take place in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). These intermediates include glucosaminyl-acylphosphatidylinositol [GlcN-(acyl)PI] and later mannosylated GPIs, denoted H6, H7 and H8, that are present not only in the ER but also in other cell compartments, including the plasma membrane. At least two-thirds of the GlcN-(acyl)PI in HeLa D cells and mannosylated GPIs in K562 cells were found in TIMs. Although previous reports have considered TIMs to be derived primarily from the plasma membrane, we recovered TIMs from subcellular fractions enriched in ER membranes. The ER marker calnexin and GPI-anchored proteins as well as N-acetylglucosaminyl-phosphatidylinositol and mannosylated GPIs were present in ER-TIMs. Interestingly, GlcN-PI and H7 were less enriched in ER-TIM than the other GPIs, suggesting that ER-TIMs might reflect a compartmentalization of the GPI-anchor biosynthetic pathway in the ER.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.