ADP ribosylation factor (ARF) is a small guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-binding protein that regulates the binding of coat proteins to membranes and is required for several stages of vesicular transport. ARF also stimulates phospholipase D (PLD) activity, which can alter the lipid content of membranes by conversion of phospholipids into phosphatidic acid. Abundant PLD activity was found in Golgi-enriched membranes from several cell lines. Golgi PLD activity was greatly stimulated by ARF and GTP analogs and this stimulation could be inhibited by brefeldin A (BFA), a drug that blocks binding of ARF to Golgi membranes. Furthermore, in Golgi membranes from BFA-resistant PtK1 cells, basal PLD activity was high and not stimulated by exogenous ARF or GTP analogs. Thus, ARF activates PLD on the Golgi complex, suggesting a possible link between transport events and the underlying architecture of the lipid bilayer.