Send to

Choose Destination
Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2016 Apr 29;67:337-64. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-043015-111840. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

Staying Tight: Plasmodesmal Membrane Contact Sites and the Control of Cell-to-Cell Connectivity in Plants.

Author information

Biomedical Sciences Research Complex, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 9ST, United Kingdom; email:
Cell and Molecular Sciences, The James Hutton Institute, Dundee DD2 5DA, United Kingdom.
Laboratory of Membrane Biogenesis, UMR5200 CNRS, University of Bordeaux, 33883 Villenave d'Ornon Cedex, France; email: ,
Department of Botany, Faculty of Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada; email:


Multicellularity differs in plants and animals in that the cytoplasm, plasma membrane, and endomembrane of plants are connected between cells through plasmodesmal pores. Plasmodesmata (PDs) are essential for plant life and serve as conduits for the transport of proteins, small RNAs, hormones, and metabolites during developmental and defense signaling. They are also the only pathways available for viruses to spread within plant hosts. The membrane organization of PDs is unique, characterized by the close apposition of the endoplasmic reticulum and the plasma membrane and spoke-like filamentous structures linking the two membranes, which define PDs as membrane contact sites (MCSs). This specialized membrane arrangement is likely critical for PD function. Here, we review how PDs govern developmental and defensive signaling in plants, compare them with other types of MCSs, and discuss in detail the potential functional significance of the MCS nature of PDs.


calcium signaling; callose; intercellular trafficking; lipid; membrane contact site; non-cell-autonomous; plasmodesmata

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center