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Architecture and permeability of post-cytokinesis plasmodesmata lacking cytoplasmic sleeves

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William J. Nicolas, Magali S. Grison, Sylvain Trépout, Amélia Gaston, Mathieu Fouché, Fabrice P. Cordelières, Karl Oparka, Jens Tilsner, Lysiane Brocard, Emmanuelle M. Bayer

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Plasmodesmata are remarkable cellular machines responsible for the controlled exchange of proteins, small RNAs and signalling molecules between cells. They are lined by the plasma membrane (PM), contain a strand of tubular endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and the space between these two membranes is thought to control plasmodesmata permeability. Here, we have reconstructed plasmodesmata three-dimensional (3D) ultrastructure with an unprecedented level of 3D information using electron tomography. We show that within plasmodesmata, ER-PM contact sites undergo substantial remodelling events during cell differentiation. Instead of being open pores, post-cytokinesis plasmodesmata present such intimate ER-PM contact along the entire length of the pores that no intermembrane gap is visible. Later on, during cell expansion, the plasmodesmata pore widens and the two membranes separate, leaving a cytosolic sleeve spanned by tethers whose presence correlates with the appearance of the intermembrane gap. Surprisingly, the post-cytokinesis plasmodesmata allow diffusion of macromolecules despite the apparent lack of an open cytoplasmic sleeve, forcing the reassessment of the mechanisms that control plant cell-cell communication.


Original languageEnglish
Article number17082
JournalNature Plants
StatePublished - 12 Jun 2017

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