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Brefeldin A


Brefeldin A

5 mg

Note: This product will be discontinued when current inventories are sold out.

Brefeldin A (BFA), a metabolite of the fungus Eupenicillium brefeldianum, specifically and reversibly blocks protein transport from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus in many cell types and species.1-3 These effects are generally accompanied by distinct morphological changes, including the apparent collapse of the Golgi stacks. The fast and reversible redistribution of intracellular membranes is accompanied by various specific and reversible effects on cellular protein traffic. These include blockage of the following processes: protein transport from the ER to the Golgi; protein secretion; vesicular assembly; antigen presentation; trans- and endocytosis; and viral assembly and budding.

The precise effects of BFA vary among cell types. Studies have implicated GTP-binding proteins and specific integral and peripheral Golgi membrane proteins in the effects of BFA.4,5 BFA also has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activities.6 BFA has relatively low toxicity; the LD50 in mice (intraperitoneal injection) is greater than 200 mg/kg.7 Because of its numerous and reversible effects on protein transport and processing, BFA has become an important tool for cell biologists.


  • Studying mechanisms of protein transport and targeting.
  • Inducing "retrograde transport" of proteins normally resident in the Golgi into the ER.
  • Blocking protein secretion in many cell types.
  • Blocking antigen presentation by major histocompatibility complex class I and class II molecules.
  • Reversibly arresting assembly and release of viral particles.
  • Blocking the toxic effects of ricin, modeccin, abrin, and Pseudomonas toxin in various cell types.
  • Mapping post-translational modifications of cell-surface receptors and other glycoproteins.


  • Effects are reversable.
  • Morphological changes can be observed.

Specifications: Brefeldin A (C16H24O4; MW 280.37; extinction coefficient at 230 nm = 5,500; melting point = 204-205°C) is provided as a white crystalline solid (store solid at or below 4°C). BFA is often dissolved in ethanol, methanol, or DMSO; BFA solutions should be stored at –20°C.

Quality Control: Brefeldin A is greater than 99% pure as determined by HPLC. A 10 mg/ml solution in ethanol is clear and colorless.


Figure 1. Treatment of primary mouse pituitary cells with Brefeldin A. BFA treatment results in the redistribution of Golgi membranes into the endoplasmic reticulum (+BFA) as seen when compared with an untreated cell (-BFA). (Electron micrographs are courtesy of J.A. Magner, Michael Reese Hospital, University of Illinois, Chicago.)


  1. Klausner, R.D. et al. (1992) J. Cell Biol. 116, 1071.
  2. Pelham, H.R.B. (1991) Cell 67, 449.
  3. Rothman, J.E. and Orci, L. (1992) Nature 355, 409.
  4. Donaldson, J.G. et al. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89, 6408.
  5. Randazzo, P.A. et al. (1993) J. Biol. Chem. 268, 9555.
  6. Tamura, G. et al. (1968) J. Antibiotics 21, 160.
  7. Härri, E. et al. (1963) Helv. Chim. Acta 46, 1235.