We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details for Dr Tim Hawkins

Wang, Pengwei, Hawkins, Timothy J., Richardson, Christine, Cummins, Ian, Deeks, Michael J., Sparkes, Imogen, Hawes, Chris & Hussey, Patrick J. (2014). The Plant Cytoskeleton, NET3C, and VAP27 Mediate the Link between the Plasma Membrane and Endoplasmic Reticulum. Current Biology 24(12): 1397-1405.

Author(s) from Durham


The cortical endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network in plants is a highly dynamic structure, and it contacts the plasma membrane (PM) at ER-PM anchor/contact sites. These sites are known to be essential for communication between the ER and PM for lipid transport, calcium influx, and ER morphology in mammalian and fungal cells. The nature of these contact sites is unknown in plants [1 and 2], and here, we have identified a complex that forms this bridge. This complex includes (1) NET3C, which belongs to a plant-specific superfamily (NET) of actin-binding proteins [3], (2) VAP27, a plant homolog of the yeast Scs2 ER-PM contact site protein [4 and 5], and (3) the actin and microtubule networks. We demonstrate that NET3C and VAP27 localize to puncta at the PM and that NET3C and VAP27 form homodimers/oligomers and together form complexes with actin and microtubules. We show that F-actin modulates the turnover of NET3C at these puncta and microtubules regulate the exchange of VAP27 at the same sites. Based on these data, we propose a model for the structure of the plant ER-PM contact sites.