Endosomes regulate both the recycling and degradation of plasma membrane (PM) proteins, thereby modulating many cellular responses triggered at the cell surface. Endosomes also play a role in the biosynthetic pathway by taking proteins to the vacuole and recycling vacuolar cargo receptors. In plants, the trans-Golgi network (TGN) acts as an early/recycling endosome whereas prevacuolar compartments/multivesicular bodies (MVBs) take PM proteins to the vacuole for degradation. Recent studies have demonstrated that some of the molecular complexes that mediate endosomal trafficking, such as the retromer, the ADP-ribosylation factor (ARF) machinery, and the Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport (ESCRTs) have both conserved and specialized functions in plants. Whereas there is disagreement on the subcellular localization of the plant retromer, its function in recycling vacuolar sorting receptors (VSRs) and modulating the trafficking of PM proteins has been well established. Studies on Arabidopsis ESCRT components highlight the essential role of this complex in cytokinesis, plant development, and vacuolar organization. In addition, post-translational modifications of plant PM proteins, such as phosphorylation and ubiquitination, have been demonstrated to act as sorting signals for endosomal trafficking.
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