Plasmodesmata (PD) are membrane-line pores that connect neighbouring plant cells and allow molecular exchange via the symplast. Past studies have revealed the basic structure of PD, some of the transport mechanisms for molecules through PD, and a variety of physiological processes in which they function. Recently, with the help of newly developed technologies, several exciting new features of PD have been revealed. New PD structures were observed during early formation of PD and between phloem sieve elements and phloem pole pericycle cells in roots. Both observations challenge our current understanding of PD structure and function. Research into novel physiological responses, which are regulated by PD, indicates that we have not yet fully explored the potential contribution of PD to overall plant function. In this Viewpoint article, we summarize some of the recent advances in understanding the structure and function of PD and propose the challenges ahead for the community.
- Calcium wave
- Circadian clock
- Genome transfer
- Intercellular communication
- Pathogen and symbiotic interaction