Eukaryotic cells have developed complex machineries to distribute proteins and lipids from the Golgi complex. Contrary to what has originally been postulated, delivery of proteins to the cell surface is not a simple bulk flow process but involves sorting into distinct pathways from the trans-Golgi network. Here we describe the various routes emerging from the trans-Golgi network in different cell types, and we discuss the mechanisms that mediate sorting into these pathways. While much remains to be learned about these sorting mechanisms, it is apparent that a number of pathways previously believed to be restricted to certain cell types might be used more commonly.

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