Membrane and secretory proteins are essential for almost every aspect of cellular function. These proteins are incorporated into ER-derived carriers and transported to the Golgi before being sorted for delivery to their final destination. Although ER-to-Golgi trafficking is highly conserved among eukaryotes, several layers of complexity have been added to meet the increased demands of complex cell types in metazoans. The specialized morphology of neurons and the necessity for precise spatiotemporal control over membrane and secretory protein localization and function make them particularly vulnerable to defects in trafficking. This review summarizes the general mechanisms involved in ER-to-Golgi trafficking and highlights mutations in genes affecting this process, which are associated with neurological diseases in humans.
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