Coat protein I (COPI) is considered one of the best characterized coat complexes, which represent the core machinery by which vesicle formation and cargo sorting are coupled to initiate vesicular transport (Bonifacino and Lippincott-Schwartz 2003; McMahon and Mills 2004). Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which COPI acts and the transport path- ways in which it operates has evolved significantly over the years, and with considerable accompanying controversy. These aspects of COPI research will be reviewed. See also Fig. 1 for a timeline that summarizes its key discoveries.
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