PerspectivePlant Biology

A Plant ABC Transporter Takes the Lotus Seat

Science  22 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5696, pp. 622-625
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105227

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Summary

The surfaces of plants (principally leaves and stems) exposed to the air are covered in a wax cuticle that prevents them from drying out. In their Perspective, Schulz and Frommer discuss a step toward elucidating the complex lipid export pathway that transports hydrophobic wax precursor molecules from the endoplasmic reticulum, where they are synthesized across the plasma membrane, to the surface of plant cells, where they are assembled into the cuticular layer ( Pighin et al.). It turns out that, like animal cells, plant cells have an ABC transporter protein called CER5 that transports hydrophobic wax precursor molecules across the plant cell plasma membrane.