In mammalian cells, the Golgi apparatus and endoplasmic reticulum have typical structures during interphase: stacked cisternae located adjacent to the nucleus and a network of interconnected tubules throughout the cytoplasm, respectively. At mitosis their architectures disappear and are reassembled in daughter cells. p97, an AAA-ATPase, mediates membrane fusion and is required for reassembly of these organelles. In the p97-mediated membrane fusion, p47 was identified as an essential cofactor, through which p97 binds to a SNARE, syntaxin5. A second essential cofactor, VCIP135, was identified as a p97/p47/syntaxin5-interacting protein. Several lines of recent evidence suggest that ubiquitination may be implicated in the p97/p47 pathway; p47 binds to monoubiquitinated proteins and VCIP135 shows a deubiquitinating activity in vitro. For the cell-cycle regulation of the p97/p47 pathway, it has been reported that the localization and phosphorylation-dephosphorylation of p47 are crucial. In this review, we describe the components involved in the p97-mediated membrane fusion and discuss the regulation of the fusion pathway.
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