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Receptor-mediated sorting of soluble vacuolar proteins: myths, facts, and a new model.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Review article (peer-reviewed)
Author Robinson David G, Neuhaus Jean-Marc,
Project Biogenesis and functions of different vacuoles in plants
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Review article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of experimental botany
Volume (Issue) 67(15)
Page(s) 4435 - 49
Title of proceedings Journal of experimental botany
DOI 10.1093/jxb/erw222

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


To prevent their being released to the cell exterior, acid hydrolases are recognized by receptors at some point in the secretory pathway and diverted towards the lytic compartment of the cell (lysosome or vacuole). In animal cells, the receptor is called the mannosyl 6-phosphate receptor (MPR) and it binds hydrolase ligands in the trans-Golgi network (TGN). These ligands are then sequestered into clathrin-coated vesicles (CCVs) because of motifs in the cytosolic tail of the MPR which interact first with monomeric adaptors (Golgi-localized, Gamma-ear-containing, ARF-binding proteins, GGAs) and then with tetrameric (adaptin) adaptor complexes. The CCVs then fuse with an early endosome, whose more acidic lumen causes the ligands to dissociate. The MPRs are then recycled back to the TGN via retromer-coated carriers. Plants have vacuolar sorting receptors (VSRs) which were originally identified in CCVs isolated from pea (Pisum sativum L.) cotyledons. It was therefore assumed that VSRs would have an analogous function in plants to MPRs in animals. Although this dogma has enjoyed wide support over the last 20 years there are many inconsistencies. Recently, results have been published which are quite contrary to it. It now emerges that VSRs and their ligands can interact very early in the secretory pathway, and dissociate in the TGN, which, in contrast to its mammalian counterpart, has a pH of 5.5. Multivesicular endosomes in plants lack proton pump complexes and consequently have an almost neutral internal pH, which discounts them as organelles of pH-dependent receptor-ligand dissociation. These data force a critical re-evaluation of the role of CCVs at the TGN, especially considering that vacuolar cargo ligands have never been identified in them. We propose that one population of TGN-derived CCVs participate in retrograde transport of VSRs from the TGN. We also present a new model to explain how secretory and vacuolar cargo proteins are effectively separated after entering the late Golgi/TGN compartments.