Sorting of proteins to vacuoles in plant cells

Plant Mol Biol. 1998 Sep;38(1-2):127-44.


An individual plant cell may contain at least two functionally and structurally distinct types of vacuoles: protein storage vacuoles and lytic vacuoles. Presumably a cell that stores proteins in vacuoles must maintain these separate compartments to prevent exposure of the storage proteins to an acidified environment with active hydrolytic enzymes where they would be degraded. Thus, the organization of the secretory pathway in plant cells, which includes the vacuoles, has a fascinating complexity not anticipated from the extensive genetic and biochemical studies of the secretory pathway in yeast. Plant cells must generate the membranes to form two separate types of tonoplast, maintain them as separate organelles, and direct soluble proteins from the secretory flow specifically to one or the other via separate vesicular pathways. Individual soluble and membrane proteins must be recognized and sorted into one or the other pathway by distinct, specific mechanisms. Here we review the emerging picture of how separate plant vacuoles are organized structurally and how proteins are recognized and sorted to each type.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology
  • Vacuoles / chemistry
  • Vacuoles / metabolism*
  • Vacuoles / physiology


  • Plant Proteins