Physiological Roles of Plant Post-Golgi Transport Pathways in Membrane Trafficking

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Membrane trafficking is the fundamental system through which proteins are sorted to their correct destinations in eukaryotic cells. Key regulators of this system include RAB GTPases and soluble N-ethylmaleimide sensitive factor attachment protein receptors (SNAREs). Interestingly, the numbers of RAB GTPases and SNAREs involved in post-Golgi transport pathways in plant cells are larger than those in animal and yeast cells, suggesting that plants have evolved unique and complex post-Golgi transport pathways. The trans-Golgi network (TGN) is an important organelle that acts as a sorting station in the post-Golgi transport pathways of plant cells. The TGN also functions as the early endosome, which is the first compartment to receive endocytosed proteins. Several endocytosed proteins on the plasma membrane (PM) are initially targeted to the TGN/EE, then recycled back to the PM or transported to the vacuole for degradation. The recycling and degradation of the PM localized proteins is essential for the development and environmental responses in plant. The present review describes the post-Golgi transport pathways that show unique physiological functions in plants.

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