The plant secretory pathway seen through the lens of the cell wall Academic Article uri icon


  • Secretion in plant cells is often studied by looking at well-characterised, evolutionarily conserved membrane proteins associated with particular endomembrane compartments. Studies using live cell microscopy and fluorescent proteins have illuminated the highly dynamic nature of trafficking, and electron microscopy studies have resolved the ultrastructure of many compartments. Biochemical and molecular analyses have further informed about the function of particular proteins and endomembrane compartments. In plants, there are over 40 cell types, each with highly specialised functions, and hence potential variations in cell biological processes and cell wall structure. As the primary function of secretion in plant cells is for the biosynthesis of cell wall polysaccharides and apoplastic transport complexes, it follows that utilising our knowledge of cell wall glycosyltransferases (GTs) and their polysaccharide products will inform us about secretion. Indeed, this knowledge has led to novel insights into the secretory pathway, including previously unseen post-TGN secretory compartments. Conversely, our knowledge of trafficking routes of secretion will inform us about polarised and localised deposition of cell walls and their constituent polysaccharides/glycoproteins. In this review, we look at what is known about cell wall biosynthesis and the secretory pathway and how the different approaches can be used in a complementary manner to study secretion and provide novel insights into these processes.

publication date

  • 2017