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An essential role for Arabidopsis Trs33 in cell growth and organization in plant apical meristems


Key message

Trafficking protein particle (TRAPP) complexes subunit gene AtTrs33 plays an important role in keeping apical meristematic activity and dominance in Arabidopsis.


TRAPP complexes, composed of multimeric subunits, are guanine–nucleotide exchange factors for certain Rab GTPases and are believed to be involved in the regulation of membrane trafficking, but the cases in Arabidopsis are largely unknown. Trs33, recently proposed to be a component of TRAPP IV, is non-essential in yeast cells. A single copy of Trs33 gene, AtTrs33, was identified in Arabidopsis. GUS activity assay indicated that AtTrs33 was ubiquitously expressed. Based on a T-DNA insertion line, we found that loss-of-function of AtTrs33 is lethal for apical growth. Knock-down or knock-in of AtTrs33 affects apical meristematic growth and fertility, which indicates that AtTrs33 plays an important role in keeping apical meristematic activity and dominance in Arabidopsis. Analysis of auxin responses and PIN1/2 localization indicate that impaired apical meristematic activity and dominance were caused by altered auxin responses through non-polarized PIN1 localization. The present study reported that AtTrs33 plays an essential role in Arabidopsis cell growth and organization, which is different with its homologue in yeast. These findings provide new insights into the functional divergence of TRAPP subunits.

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Days after germination


Endoplasmic reticulum


Guanine–nucleotide exchange factor


Green fluorescent protein


Propidium iodide


RNA interference


Trafficking protein particle


Yellow fluorescent proteins


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We would like to thank the reviewers and editors for their careful reading and helpful comments on this manuscript.


This work was supported by the Special Fund on Essential Research for National Non-profit Institutions to the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAFYBB2011001) to ML, and a Grant from The National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada and a startup grant from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) to HZ.

Author information

HZ and ML designed the study. JZ, JC and WW performed the experiments, JZ and JC analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. LW, SZ, JL, BL and XQ contributed to the data collection and data analysis. JZ, JC, HZ and ML revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Huanquan Zheng or Mengzhu Lu.

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Zhang, J., Chen, J., Wang, L. et al. An essential role for Arabidopsis Trs33 in cell growth and organization in plant apical meristems. Plant Cell Rep 39, 381–391 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00299-019-02497-9

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  • Arabidopsis
  • Trs33
  • Apical meristem
  • Auxin
  • PIN1/2
  • Subcellular localization