The exocyst complex is an evolutionary battleground in plant-microbe interactions

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2023 Dec:76:102482. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2023.102482. Epub 2023 Nov 3.


Exocytosis is a conserved trafficking pathway that transports secretory vesicles to the extracellular space, replenishes the plasma membrane and is essential for establishing cell polarity. Its spatiotemporal regulation is mediated by an evolutionary conserved octameric tethering complex, the exocyst. In plants, certain subunits of this complex have diversified and acquired multiple functions, including a central role in defense against pathogens and pests. Here, I review the latest evidence suggesting the dramatic expansion and functional diversification of the exocyst subunit Exo70 is likely driven by a coevolutionary arms race, in which Exo70 proteins are repeatedly targeted by effectors from multiple pathogens and, in turn, are monitored by plant immune receptors for pathogen perception.

Publication types

  • Review