, Volume 170, Issue 3–4, pp 115–127 | Cite as

Developmental changes in plasmodesmata in transgenic tobacco expressing the movement protein of tobacco mosaic virus

  • Patricia J. Moore
  • Csilla A. Fenczik
  • C. M. Deom
  • R. N. Beachy


Cell-to-cell communication in plants occurs through plasmodesmata, cytoplasmic channels that traverse the cell wall between neighboring cells. Plasmodesmata are also exploited by many viruses as an avenue for spread of viral progeny. In the case of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), a virally-encoded movement protein (MP) enables the virus to move through plasmodesmata during infection. We have used thin section electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry to examine the structure of plasmodesmata in transgenic tobacco plants expressing the TMV MP. We observed a change in structure of the plasmodesmata as the leaves age, both in control and MP expressing [MP(+)] plants. In addition, the plasmodesmata of older cells of MP(+) plants accumulate a fibrous material in the central cavity. The presence of the fibers is correlated with the ability to label plasmodesmata with anti-MP antibodies. The developmental stage of leaf tissue at which this material is observed is the stage at which an increase in the size exclusion limit of the plasmodesmata can be measured in MP(+) plants. Using cell fractionation and aqueous phase partitioning studies, we identified the plasma membrane and cell wall as the compartments with which the MP stably associates. The nature of the interaction between the MP and the plasma membrane was studied using sodium carbonate and Triton X-100 washes. The MP behaves as an integral membrane protein. Identifying the mechanism by which the MP associates with plasma membrane and plasmodesmata will lead to a better understanding of how the MP alters the function of the plasmodesmata.


Movement protein Plasmodesmata Tobacco mosaic virus Viral movement 



movement protein


tobacco mosaic virus


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia J. Moore
    • 1
  • Csilla A. Fenczik
    • 1
  • C. M. Deom
    • 1
  • R. N. Beachy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyWashington UniversitySt. Louis

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