The secretory pathway of plants is a network of organelles that communicate via vesicle transport. This process involves budding on donor membranes followed by their targeting to, recognition by and fusion with the acceptor membrane. Protein sorting through the plant secretory pathway is a process that requires the specific recognition of signals by receptor molecules. For soluble proteins, recognition takes place in the lumen of the secretory pathway. The sorting receptors must mediate signal transduction across the membrane to convey the information about the presence of cargo molecules to cytosolic factors, which regulate the formation of transport vesicles. Recently, a number of key elements in this process have been identified, providing tools to study protein sorting at the molecular level.