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Size matters: Sugars regulate communication between plant cells

Date:
December 12, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Multicellular organisms must have a means for cells to communicate with one another. Past research has shown that plants possess the ability to directly transfer materials between adjacent cells, through holes in their cell walls called plasmodesmata (PD). Now, a new study reveals one way to control the size of these PD channels, to prevent or allow the passage of important signals between cells, during plant development.

Multicellular organisms must have a means for cells to communicate with one another. Past research has shown that plants possess the ability to directly transfer materials between adjacent cells, through holes in their cell walls called plasmodesmata (PD). Now, a study published by Cell Press in the December issue of the journal Developmental Cell reveals one way to control the size of these PD channels, to prevent or allow the passage of important signals between cells, during plant development.

Although evidence suggests that plant cells have the ability to control the size of their PDs, and therefore regulate intercellular trafficking, it is not clear how this size control is orchestrated. "Previous research has suggested an important role for the plant sugar polymer callose in regulating the PD aperture or size exclusion limit," explains the senior author of the study, Professor Ykä Helariutta, from the University of Helsinki in Finland. "For example, callose degradation enhances cell-to-cell movement and increased callose accumulation at the PD has been linked with impaired trafficking."

In their study, Professor Helariutta and colleagues developed genetic tools to control the amount of callose at the PD, so that they could manipulate the flow through PD in specific tissues of the plant. The researchers went on to show that these changes affected the intercellular movement of key plant development signaling molecules and therefore strongly influenced root formation. "Our results indicate that spatial and temporal control of callose production regulates the passage of signaling molecules through the PD during plant development," concludes Professor Helariutta.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anne Vatén, Jan Dettmer, Shuang Wu, York-Dieter Stierhof, Shunsuke Miyashima, Shri Ram Yadav, Christina J. Roberts, Ana Campilho, Vincent Bulone, Raffael Lichtenberger, Satu Lehesranta, Ari Pekka Mähönen, Jae-Yean Kim, Eija Jokitalo, Norbert Sauer, Ben Scheres, Keiji Nakajima, Annelie Carlsbecker, Kimberly L. Gallagher, Ykä Helariutta. Callose Biosynthesis Regulates Symplastic Trafficking during Root Development. Developmental Cell, 2011; 21 (6): 1144 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.10.006

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Size matters: Sugars regulate communication between plant cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111212123933.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, December 12). Size matters: Sugars regulate communication between plant cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111212123933.htm
Cell Press. "Size matters: Sugars regulate communication between plant cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111212123933.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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