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Keywords:

  • anchor points;
  • endoplasmic reticulum;
  • Golgi;
  • laser tweezers;
  • optical trapping

In many vacuolate plant cells, individual Golgi bodies appear to be attached to tubules of the pleiomorphic cortical endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network. Such observations culminated in the controversial mobile secretory unit hypothesis to explain transport of cargo from the ER to Golgi via Golgi attached export sites. This proposes that individual Golgi bodies and an attached-ER exit machinery move over or with the surface of the ER whilst collecting cargo for secretion. By the application of infrared laser optical traps to individual Golgi bodies within living leaf cells, we show that individual Golgi bodies can be micromanipulated to reveal their association with the ER. Golgi bodies are physically attached to ER tubules and lateral displacement of individual Golgi bodies results in the rapid growth of the attached ER tubule. Remarkably, the ER network can be remodelled in living cells simply by movement of laser trapped Golgi dragging new ER tubules through the cytoplasm and new ER anchor sites can be established. Finally, we show that trapped Golgi ripped off the ER are ‘sticky’ and can be docked on to and attached to ER tubules, which will again show rapid growth whilst pulled by moving Golgi.