A recently described family of TGN (trans-Golgi network) proteins, all of which contain a GRIP domain targeting sequence, has been proposed to play a role in membrane transport. On the basis of the high content of heptad repeats, GRIP domain proteins are predicted to contain extensive coiled-coil regions that have the potential to mediate protein–protein interactions. Four mammalian GRIP domain proteins have been identified which are targeted to the TGN through their GRIP domains, namely p230, golgin-97, GCC88 and GCC185. In the present study, we have investigated the ability of the four mammalian GRIP domain proteins to interact. Using a combination of immunoprecipitation experiments of epitope-tagged GRIP domain proteins, cross-linking experiments and yeast two-hybrid interactions, we have established that the GRIP proteins can self-associate to form homodimers exclusively. Two-hybrid analysis indicated that the N- and C-terminal fragments of GCC88 can interact with themselves but not with each other, suggesting that the GRIP domain proteins form parallel coiled-coil dimers. Analysis of purified recombinant golgin-97 by CD spectroscopy indicated a 67% α-helical structure, consistent with a high content of coiled-coil sequences. These results support a model for GRIP domain proteins as extended rod-like homodimeric molecules. The formation of homodimers, but not heterodimers, indicates that each of the four mammalian TGN golgins has the potential to function independently.

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