Journey to the cell surface--the central role of the trans-Golgi network in plants

Protoplasma. 2015 Mar;252(2):385-98. doi: 10.1007/s00709-014-0693-1. Epub 2014 Sep 4.


The secretion of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates to the cell surface is essential for plant development and adaptation. Secreted substances synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum pass through the Golgi apparatus and trans-Golgi network (TGN) en route to the plasma membrane via the conventional secretion pathway. The TGN is morphologically and functionally distinct from the Golgi apparatus. The TGN is located at the crossroads of many trafficking pathways and regulates a range of crucial processes including secretion to the cell surface, transport to the vacuole, and the reception of endocytic cargo. This review outlines the TGN's central role in cargo secretion, showing that its behavior is more complex and controlled than the bulk-flow hypothesis suggests. Its formation, structure, and maintenance are discussed along with the formation and release of secretory vesicles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Plants / ultrastructure
  • Protein Transport
  • Secretory Pathway
  • Secretory Vesicles
  • trans-Golgi Network / physiology*


  • Plant Proteins