Journal Article

The cytoskeleton in plasmodesmata: a role in intercellular transport?

Rosemary G. White and Deborah A. Barton

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 62, issue 15, pages 5249-5266
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI:
The cytoskeleton in plasmodesmata: a role in intercellular transport?

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Actin and myosin are components of the plant cell cytoskeleton that extend from cell to cell through plasmodesmata (PD), but it is unclear how they are organized within the cytoplasmic sleeve or how they might behave as regulatory elements. Early work used antibodies to locate actin and myosin to PD, at the electron microscope level, or to pitfields (aggregations of PD in the cell wall), using immunofluorescence techniques. More recently, a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged plant myosin VIII was located specifically at PD-rich pitfields in cell walls. Application of actin or myosin disrupters may modify the conformation of PD and alter rates of cell–cell transport, providing evidence for a role in regulating PD permeability. Intriguingly, there is now evidence of differentiation between types of PD, some of which open in response to both actin and myosin disrupters, and others which are unaffected by actin disrupters or which close in response to myosin inhibitors. Viruses also interact with elements of the cytoskeleton for both intracellular and intercellular transport. The precise function of the cytoskeleton in PD may change during cell development, and may not be identical in all tissue types, or even in all PD within a single cell. Nevertheless, it is likely that actin- and myosin-associated proteins play a key role in regulating cell–cell transport, by interacting with cargo and loading it into PD, and may underlie the capacity for one-way transport across particular cell and tissue boundaries.

Keywords: Actin; cell–cell transport; cytoskeleton; myosin; plasmodesma

Journal Article.  10876 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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