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Nat Commun. 2014 Jul 10;5:4276. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5276.

CHOLINE TRANSPORTER-LIKE1 is required for sieve plate development to mediate long-distance cell-to-cell communication.

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1] Cell Biology Division, Department of Biology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, 91058 Erlangen, Germany [2].
1] Institute of Biotechnology, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki FIN-00014, Finland [2].
1] Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMC), University of Porto, Porto 4150-180, Portugal [2].
Institute of Biotechnology, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki FIN-00014, Finland.
Neurophotonics Laboratory, CNRS/Université Paris Descartes, 45, rue des Saints-Pères, 75270 Paris, France.
School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-4236, USA.
Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany.
Department of Materials Science, University of Milano-Bicocca, Via R. Cozzi 55, 20125 Milano, Italy.
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Department for Plant Developmental Biology, 50829 Cologne, Germany.
ZMBP, Mikroskopie, Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 5, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Umeå Plant Science Center, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-90183 Umeå, Sweden.


Phloem, a plant tissue responsible for long-distance molecular transport, harbours specific junctions, sieve areas, between the conducting cells. To date, little is known about the molecular framework related to the biogenesis of these sieve areas. Here we identify mutations at the CHER1/AtCTL1 locus of Arabidopsis thaliana. The mutations cause several phenotypic abnormalities, including reduced pore density and altered pore structure in the sieve areas associated with impaired phloem function. CHER1 encodes a member of a poorly characterized choline transporter-like protein family in plants and animals. We show that CHER1 facilitates choline transport, localizes to the trans-Golgi network, and during cytokinesis is associated with the phragmoplast. Consistent with its function in the elaboration of the sieve areas, CHER1 has a sustained, polar localization in the forming sieve plates. Our results indicate that the regulation of choline levels is crucial for phloem development and conductivity in plants.

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