Concerted Action of Evolutionarily Ancient and Novel SNARE Complexes in Flowering-Plant Cytokinesis

Dev Cell. 2018 Feb 26;44(4):500-511.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.12.027. Epub 2018 Jan 27.


Membrane vesicles delivered to the cell-division plane fuse with one another to form the partitioning membrane during plant cytokinesis, starting in the cell center. In Arabidopsis, this requires SNARE complexes involving the cytokinesis-specific Qa-SNARE KNOLLE. However, cytokinesis still occurs in knolle mutant embryos, suggesting contributions from KNOLLE-independent SNARE complexes. Here we show that Qa-SNARE SYP132, having counterparts in lower plants, functionally overlaps with the flowering plant-specific KNOLLE. SYP132 mutation causes cytokinesis defects, knolle syp132 double mutants consist of only one or a few multi-nucleate cells, and SYP132 has the same SNARE partners as KNOLLE. SYP132 and KNOLLE also have non-overlapping functions in secretion and in cellularization of the embryo-nourishing endosperm resulting from double fertilization unique to flowering plants. Evolutionarily ancient non-specialized SNARE complexes originating in algae were thus amended by the appearance of cytokinesis-specific SNARE complexes, meeting the high demand for membrane-fusion capacity during endosperm cellularization in angiosperms.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; SNARE; cellularization; cytokinesis; endosperm; evolution; membrane fusion; plant; secretion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cytokinesis / physiology*
  • Magnoliopsida / genetics
  • Magnoliopsida / growth & development
  • Magnoliopsida / metabolism*
  • Membrane Fusion / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Protein Transport
  • SNARE Proteins / genetics
  • SNARE Proteins / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • SNARE Proteins