Structure and function of Rho-type molecular switches in plants

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2008 Mar;46(3):380-93. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2007.12.008. Epub 2007 Dec 31.


Molecular switches of the Rho family, in concert with their associated regulators and effectors are well known as important control elements of vital signaling pathways in eucaryotic organisms. Yet, this knowledge has so far been established mainly from animal and fungal studies. However, during the recent years, the Rho switch has gone increasingly green as well, and it turned out that the homologous system in plants holds some distinctive features regarding structures, functions and molecular mechanisms for signal transduction. In this review, we give an overview about the structural characteristics of the Rho proteins of plants, termed ROP, highlighting some exciting differences to their animal and fungal counterparts. We further address the unique regulators and effectors of the ROPs and discuss the structural basis for the function and interaction of those proteins in ROP controlled reaction cascades. We finally intend to stimulate the demand for future three-dimensional structures that advance our understanding of the ROP switch in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Plant Proteins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins