Endosomal functions in plants

Traffic. 2008 Sep;9(10):1589-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0854.2008.00787.x. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


Plant endosomes are highly dynamic organelles that are involved in the constitutive recycling of plasma membrane cargo and the trafficking of polarized plasma membrane proteins such as auxin carriers. In addition, recent studies have shown that surface receptors such as the plant defense-related FLS2 receptor and the brassinosteroid receptor BRI1 appear to signal from endosomes upon ligand binding and internalization. In yeast and mammals, endosomes are also known to recycle vacuolar cargo receptors back to the trans Golgi network and sort membrane proteins for degradation in the vacuole/lysosome. Some of these sorting mechanisms are mediated by the retromer and endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) complexes. Plants contain orthologs of all major retromer and ESCRT complex subunits, but they have also evolved variations in endosomal functions connected to plant-specific features such as the diversity of vacuolar transport pathways. This review focuses on recent studies in plants dealing with the regulation of endosomal recycling functions, architecture and formation of multivesicular bodies, ligand-mediated endocytosis and receptor signaling from endosomes as well as novel endosomal markers and the function of endosomes in the transport and processing of soluble vacuolar proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Endosomes / physiology*
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Vacuoles / metabolism


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Plant Proteins