Exocytosis is a highly ordered vesicle trafficking pathway that targets proteins to the plasma membrane for membrane addition or secretion. Research over the years has discovered many proteins that participate at various stages in the mammalian exocytotic pathway. At the early stage of exocytosis, co-atomer proteins and their respective adaptors and GTPases have been shown to play a role in the sorting and incorporation of proteins into secretory vesicles. At the final stage of exocytosis, SNAREs (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive fusion protein attachment protein receptor) and SNARE-associated proteins are believed to mediate the fusion of secretory vesicles at the plasma membrane. There are multiple events that may occur between the budding of secretory vesicles from the Golgi and the fusion of these vesicles at the plasma membrane. The most obvious and best-known event is the transport of secretory vesicles from Golgi to the vicinity of the plasma membrane via microtubules and their associated motors. At the vicinity of the plasma membrane, however, it is not clear how vesicles finally dock and fuse with the plasma membrane. Identification of proteins involved in these events should provide important insights into the mechanisms of this little known stage of the exocytotic pathway. Currently, a protein complex, known as the sec6/8 or the exocyst complex, has been implicated to play a role at this late stage of exocytosis.

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