Forskolin inhibits and reverses the effects of brefeldin A on Golgi morphology by a cAMP-independent mechanism

Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Jonathan Glickman, Julie G. Donaldson, Joan Robbins, Thomas E. Kreis, Kenneth B. Seamon, Michael P. Sheetz, Richard D. Klausner

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63 Scopus citations


Brefeldin A (BFA) causes rapid redistribution of Golgi proteins into the ER, leaving no definable Golgi apparatus, and blocks transport of proteins into post-Golgi compartments in the cell. In this study we follow the disassembly of the Golgi apparatus in BFA-treated, living cells labeled with NBD-ceramide and demonstrate that forskolin can both inhibit and reverse this process. Long, tubular processes labeled with NBD-ceramide were observed emerging from Golgi elements and extending out to the cell periphery in cells treated with BFA for 5 min. With longer incubations in BFA, the NBD label was dispersed in a fine reticular pattern characteristic of the ER. Treatment with forskolin inhibited these effects of BFA as well as BFA's earliest morphologic effect on the Golgi apparatus: the redistribution to the cytosol of a 110-kD Golgi peripheral membrane protein. In addition, forskolin could reverse BFA's block in protein secretion. Forskolin inhibition of BFA's effects was dose dependent and reversible. High concentrations of BFA could overcome forskolin's inhibitory effect, suggesting forskolin and BFA interact in a competitive fashion. Remarkably, in cells already exposed to BFA, forskolin could reverse BFAs effects causing the 110-kD Golgi peripheral membrane protein to reassociate with Golgi membrane and juxtanuclear Golgi complexes to reassemble. Neither membrane permeant cAMP analogues nor cAMP phosphodiesterase inhibitors could replicate or enhance forskolin's inhibition of BFA. 1,9-Dideoxyforskolin, which does not activate adenylyl cyclase, was equally as effective as forskolin in antagonizing BFA. A derivative of forskolin, 7-HPP-forskolin, that is less potent than forskolin at binding to adenylyl cyclase, was also equally effective as forskolin in antagonizing BFA. In contrast a similar derivative, 6-HPP-forskolin, that is equipotent with forskolin at binding to adenylyl cyclase, did not inhibit BFA's effects. These results suggest that forskolin acts as a competitive antagonist to BFA, using a cAMP-independent mechanism to prevent and reverse the morphologic effects induced by BFA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-577
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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