COPII vesicle formation requires only three coat assembly subunits: Sarl p, Sac13/31 p, and Sec23/24p. PI 4-phosphate or PI 4,5-bisphosphate is required for the binding of these proteins to liposomes. The GTP-bound form of Sar1p recruits Sec23/24p to the liposomes as well as to the ER membranes, and this Sar1p-Sec23/24p complex is required for the binding of Sec13/31p. Ultrastructural analysis shows that the binding of COPII coat proteins to liposomes results in coated patches, coated buds, and coated vesicles of 50- 9 nm in diameter. Budding proceeds without rupture of the donor liposome or vesicle product. These observations suggest that the assembly of the COPII coat on the ER occurs by a sequential binding of coat proteins to specific lipids and that this assembly promotes the budding of COPII-coated vesicles.
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