Involvement of autophagy in the direct ER to vacuole protein trafficking route in plants

Simon Michaeli, Tamar Avin-Wittenberg, Gad Galili*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Trafficking of proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the vacuole is a fundamental process in plants, being involved both in vacuole biogenesis as well as with plant growth and response to environmental stresses. Although the canonical transport of cellular components from the ER to the vacuole includes the Golgi apparatus as an intermediate compartment, there are multiple lines of evidence that support the existence of a direct ER-to-vacuole, Golgi-independent, trafficking route in plants that uses the autophagy machinery. Plant autophagy was initially described by electron microscopy, visualizing cellular structures that are morphologically reminiscent of autophagosomes. In some of these reports these structures were shown to transport vacuole residing proteins, particularly seed storage proteins, directly from the ER to the vacuole. More recently, following the discovery of the proteins of the core autophagy machinery, molecular tools were implemented in deciphering the involvement of autophagy in this special trafficking route. Here we review the relatively older and more recent scientific observations, supporting the involvement of autophagy in the special cellular trafficking pathways of plants.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number134
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - 8 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Atg8
  • Direct ER to vacuole
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Golgi-independent trafficking
  • Plant autophagy
  • Plant vacuole
  • Seed storage proteins
  • Selective autophagy

Cite this