TRAPPII subunits are required for the specificity switch of a Ypt-Rab GEF.
Ypt-Rab GTPases are key regulators of the various steps of intracellular trafficking. Guanine nucleotide-exchange factors (GEFs) regulate the conversion of Ypt-Rabs to the GTP-bound state, in which they interact with effectors that mediate all the known aspects of vesicular transport. An interesting possibility is that Ypt-Rabs coordinate separate steps of the transport pathways. The conserved modular complex TRAPP is a GEF for the Golgi gatekeepers Ypt1 and Ypt31/32 (Refs 5-7). However, it is not known how Golgi entry and exit are coordinated. TRAPP comes in two configurations: the seven-subunit TRAPPI is required for endoplasmic reticulum-to-Golgi transport, whereas the ten-subunit TRAPPII functions in late Golgi. The two essential TRAPPII-specific subunits Trs120 and Trs130 have been identified as Ypt31/32 genetic interactors. Here, we show that they are required for switching the GEF specificity of TRAPP from Ypt1 to Ypt31. Moreover, a trs130ts mutation confers opposite effects on the intracellular localization of these GTPases. We suggest that the Trs120-Trs130 subcomplex joins TRAPP in the late Golgi to switch its GEF activity from Ypt1 to Ypt31/32. Such a 'switchable' GEF could ensure sequential activation of these Ypts, thereby coordinating Golgi entry and exit.