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Front Plant Sci. 2014 Apr 21;5:138. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00138. eCollection 2014.

Callose homeostasis at plasmodesmata: molecular regulators and developmental relevance.

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Laboratory for In Vitro Biology and Horticulture, Department of Plant Production, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, University of Ghent Ghent, Belgium.


Plasmodesmata are membrane-lined channels that are located in the plant cell wall and that physically interconnect the cytoplasm and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of adjacent cells. Operating as controllable gates, plasmodesmata regulate the symplastic trafficking of micro- and macromolecules, such as endogenous proteins [transcription factors (TFs)] and RNA-based signals (mRNA, siRNA, etc.), hence mediating direct cell-to-cell communication and long distance signaling. Besides this physiological role, plasmodesmata also form gateways through which viral genomes can pass, largely facilitating the pernicious spread of viral infections. Plasmodesmatal trafficking is either passive (e.g., diffusion) or active and responses both to developmental and environmental stimuli. In general, plasmodesmatal conductivity is regulated by the controlled build-up of callose at the plasmodesmatal neck, largely mediated by the antagonistic action of callose synthases (CalSs) and β-1,3-glucanases. Here, in this theory and hypothesis paper, we outline the importance of callose metabolism in PD SEL control, and highlight the main molecular factors involved. In addition, we also review other proteins that regulate symplastic PD transport, both in a developmental and stress-responsive framework, and discuss on their putative role in the modulation of PD callose turn-over. Finally, we hypothesize on the role of structural sterols in the regulation of (PD) callose deposition and outline putative mechanisms by which this regulation may occur.


callose; callose synthase; plasmodesmata; sterols; symplastic transport; β-1,3-glucanase

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