The mammalian Golgi complex is comprised of a ribbon of stacked cisternal membranes often located in the pericentriolar region of the cell. Here, we report that during apoptosis the Golgi ribbon is fragmented into dispersed clusters of tubulo-vesicular membranes. We have found that fragmentation is caspase dependent and identified GRASP65 (Golgi reassembly and stacking protein of 65 kD) as a novel caspase substrate. GRASP65 is cleaved specifically by caspase-3 at conserved sites in its membrane distal COOH terminus at an early stage of the execution phase. Expression of a caspase-resistant form of GRASP65 partially preserved cisternal stacking and inhibited breakdown of the Golgi ribbon in apoptotic cells. Our results suggest that GRASP65 is an important structural component required for maintenance of Golgi apparatus integrity.
- Golgi apparatus
- Golgi structure