Directed growth and fusion of membrane-wall microdomains requires CASP-mediated inhibition and displacement of secretory foci

Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 23;14(1):1626. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-37265-7.


Casparian strips (CS) are aligned bands of lignin-impregnated cell walls, building an extracellular diffusion barrier in roots. Their structure profoundly differs from tight junctions (TJ), analogous structures in animals. Nonetheless, CS membrane domain (CSD) proteins 1-5 (CASP1-5) are homologues of occludins, TJ components. CASP-marked membranes display cell wall (matrix) adhesion and membrane protein exclusion. A full CASP knock-out now reveals CASPs are not needed for localized lignification, since correctly positioned lignin microdomains still form in the mutant. Ultra-structurally, however, these microdomains are disorganized, showing excessive cell wall growth, lack of exclusion zone and matrix adhesion, and impaired exocyst dynamics. Proximity-labelling identifies a Rab-GTPase subfamily, known exocyst activators, as potential CASP-interactors and demonstrate their localization and function at the CSD. We propose that CASP microdomains displace initial secretory foci by excluding vesicle tethering factors, thereby ensuring rapid fusion of microdomains into a membrane-cell wall band that seals the extracellular space.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Lignin / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Lignin