Dynamic organization of COPII coat proteins at endoplasmic reticulum export sites in plant cells

Plant J. 2009 Mar;57(6):963-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03740.x. Epub 2008 Dec 4.


Protein export from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is mediated by the accumulation of COPII proteins such as Sar1, Sec23/24 and Sec13/31 at specialized ER export sites (ERES). Although the distribution of COPII components in mammalian and yeast systems is established, a unified model of ERES dynamics has yet to be presented in plants. To investigate this, we have followed the dynamics of fluorescent fusions to inner and outer components of the coat, AtSec24 and AtSec13, in three different plant model systems: tobacco and Arabidopsis leaf epidermis, as well as tobacco BY-2 suspension cells. In leaves, AtSec24 accumulated at Golgi-associated ERES, whereas AtSec13 showed higher levels of cytosolic staining compared with AtSec24. However, in BY-2 cells, both AtSec13 and AtSec24 labelled Golgi-associated ERES, along with AtSec24. To correlate the distribution of the COPII coat with the dynamics of organelle movement, quantitative live-cell imaging analyses demonstrated that AtSec24 and AtSec13 maintained a constant association with Golgi-associated ERES, irrespective of their velocity. However, recruitment of AtSec24 and AtSec13 to ERES, as well as the number of ERES marked by these proteins, was influenced by export of membrane cargo proteins from the ER to the Golgi. Additionally, the increased availability of AtSec24 affected the distribution of AtSec13, inducing recruitment of this outer COPII coat component to ERES. These results provide a model that, in plants, protein export from the ER occurs via sequential recruitment of inner and outer COPII components to form transport intermediates at mobile, Golgi-associated ERES.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • COP-Coated Vesicles / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coat Protein Complex I / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Tobacco / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Coat Protein Complex I