Golgi complex is a membranous organelle located in the heart of the eukaryotic secretory pathway. A subfamily of the Golgi matrix proteins, called GRASPs, are key players in the stress-induced unconventional secretion. The molecular details leading to their appearance only in this subphylum are still unknown.
The Golgi complex is a membranous organelle located in the heart of the eukaryotic secretory pathway. A subfamily of the Golgi matrix proteins, called GRASPs, are key players in the stress-induced unconventional secretion, the Golgi dynamics during mitosis/apoptosis, and Golgi ribbon formation. The Golgi ribbon is vertebrate-specific and correlates with the appearance of two GRASP paralogs (GRASP55/GRASP65) and two coiled-coil Golgins (GM130/Golgin45), which interact with each other in vivo. Although essential for the Golgi ribbon formation and the increase in Golgi structural complexity, the molecular details leading to their appearance only in this subphylum are still unknown. Moreover, despite the new functionalities supported by the GRASP paralogy, little is known about the structural and evolutionary differences between these paralogues. In this context, we used ancestor sequence reconstruction and several biophysical/biochemical approaches to assess the evolution of the GRASP structure, flexibility, and how they started anchoring their Golgin partners. Our data showed that the Golgins appeared in evolution and were anchored by the single GRASP ancestor before gorasp gene duplication and divergence in Metazoans. After the gorasp divergence, variations inside the GRASP binding pocket determined which paralogue would recruit each Golgin partner (GRASP55 with Golgin45 and GRASP65 with GM130). These interactions are responsible for the protein's specific Golgi locations and the appearance of the Golgi ribbon. We also suggest that the capacity of GRASPs to form supramolecular structures is a long-standing feature, which likely affects GRASP's participation as a trigger of the stress-induced secretory pathway.