, Volume 209, Issue 3-4, pp 181-192

The formation of symplasmic domains by plugging of plasmodesmata: a general event in plant morphogenesis?

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The plasmodesmal network was examined in multicellular protoplast-derived calluses of the dicotyledonSolanum nigrum which had not yet formed any visible adventitious organs and in globular proembryogenic structures developed from scutellar calluses of the monocotyledonMolinia caerulea. Electron microscopical analyses revealed that both calluses and proembryos consisted of small, undifferentiated cells. The interconnecting plasmodesmata at many cell interfaces were structurally inconspicuous in both systems; in particular cell walls, however, all plasmodesmata were occluded with an osmiophilic, dense material. As the blocking material was obviously located in the microchannels of the plasmodesmal cytoplasmic sleeves, the plugged plasmodesmata can be assumed to be nonfunctional. Thus, selective occlusion of all the plasmodesmata in specific cell walls resulted in the symplasmic disconnection of particular adjacent cells. Complex patterns of symplasmic continuity and discontinuity were established within the developing tissues. Some cells or groups of cells were entirely symplasmically disconnected from the surrounding cells by plugged plasmodesmata and might function as independent domains. However, blockage of plasmodesmata was achieved by the surrounding cells rather than by those cells belonging to the isolated domains. The demarcation of symplasmic domains might be a general prerequisite for differential morphogenesis, since they were found to be established very early in the course of morphogenetic processes.