SHOU4 Proteins Regulate Trafficking of Cellulose Synthase Complexes to the Plasma Membrane

Curr Biol. 2018 Oct 8;28(19):3174-3182.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.076. Epub 2018 Sep 20.


Cell walls play critical roles in plants, regulating tissue mechanics, defining the extent and orientation of cell expansion, and providing a physical barrier against pathogen attack [1]. Cellulose microfibrils, which are synthesized by plasma membrane-localized cellulose synthase (CESA) complexes, are the primary load-bearing elements of plant cell walls [2]. Cell walls are dynamic structures that are regulated in part by cell wall integrity (CWI)-monitoring systems that feed back to modulate wall properties and the synthesis of new wall components [3]. Several receptor-like kinases have been implicated as sensors of CWI [3-5], including the FEI1/FEI2 receptor-like kinases [4]. Here, we characterize two genes encoding novel plant-specific plasma membrane proteins (SHOU4 and SHOU4L) that were identified in a suppressor screen of the cellulose-deficient fei1 fei2 mutant. shou4 shou4l double mutants display phenotypes consistent with elevated levels of cellulose, and elevated levels of non-crystalline cellulose are present in this mutant. Disruption of SHOU4 and SHOU4L increases the abundance of CESA proteins at the plasma membrane as a result of enhanced exocytosis. The SHOU4/4L N-terminal cytosolic domains directly interact with CESAs. Our results suggest that the SHOU4 proteins regulate cellulose synthesis in plants by influencing the trafficking of CESA complexes to the cell surface.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; cellulose biosynthesis; cellulose synthase; exocytosis; protein trafficking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Wall / genetics*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Cellulose / biosynthesis*
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cellulose
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • cellulose synthase