COPII-dependent ER export in animal cells: adaptation and control for diverse cargo

Janine McCaughey, David J. Stephens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
246 Downloads (Pure)


The export of newly synthesized proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum is fundamental to the ongoing maintenance of cell and tissue structure and function. After co-translational translocation into the ER, proteins destined for downstream intracellular compartments or secretion from the cell are sorted and packaged into transport vesicles by the COPII coat protein complex. The fundamental discovery and characterization of the pathway has now been augmented by a greater understanding of the role of COPII in diverse aspects of cell function. We now have a deep understanding of how COPII contributes to the trafficking of diverse cargoes including extracellular matrix molecules, developmental signalling proteins, and key metabolic factors such as lipoproteins. Structural and functional studies have shown that the COPII coat is both highly flexible and subject to multiple modes of regulation. This has led to new discoveries defining roles of COPII in development, autophagy, and tissue organization. Many of these newly emerging features of the canonical COPII pathway are placed in a context of procollagen secretion because of the fundamental interest in how a coat complex that typically generates 80-nm transport vesicles can package a cargo reported to be over 300 nm. Here we review the current understanding of COPII and assess the current consensus on its role in packaging diverse cargo proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalHistochemistry and Cell Biology
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2018


  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Golgi, procollagen
  • Vesicle

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