The Golgi apparatus is a highly dynamic organelle whose organization is maintained by a proteinaceous matrix, cytoskeletal components, and inositol phospholipids. In mammalian cells, disassembly of the organelle occurs reversibly at the onset of mitosis and irreversibly during apoptosis. Several pharmacological agents including nocodazole, brefeldin A (BFA), and primary alcohols (1-butanol) induce reversible fragmentation of the Golgi apparatus. To dissect the mechanism of Golgi reassembly, rat NRK and GH3 cells were treated with 1-butanol, BFA, or nocodazole. During washout of 1-butanol, clathrin, a ubiquitous coat protein implicated in vesicle traffic at the trans-Golgi network and plasma membrane, and abundant clathrin coated vesicles were recruited to the region of nascent Golgi cisternae. Knockdown of endogenous clathrin heavy chain showed that the Golgi apparatus failed to reform efficiently after BFA or 1-butanol removal. Instead, upon 1-butanol washout, it maintained a compact, tight morphology. Our results suggest that clathrin is required to reassemble fragmented Golgi elements. In addition, we show that after butanol treatment the Golgi apparatus reforms via an initial compact intermediate structure that is subsequently remodeled into the characteristic interphase lace-like morphology and that reassembly requires clathrin. © 2006 by The American Society for Cell Biology.