Plasmodesmata: New Perspectives on Old Questions

  • Robyn L. Overall
  • Danny Y. T. Liu
  • Deborah A. Barton


The progress so far and challenges remaining in developing a functional model of the macromolecular architecture of plasmodesmata are discussed. Details of the macromolecular components identified within plasmodesmata are summarised. Electron tomography and correlative microscopy techniques are explored as potential avenues to overcome the challenges in developing an accurate three-dimensional model of the macromolecular architecture of plasmodesmata. In recent years, some areas of plasmodesmatal biology have been left ignored, largely because the technologies required to advance them have been considered too difficult. For example, there have been no electrophysiological studies of plasmodesmata in the last decade and consequently no advances in our understanding of the rapid regulation of the permeability of plasmodesmata. There has also been no advance on the question of heterogeneity of function of the plasmodesmata within a wall and potential avenues to address this question are considered.


Correlative microscopy Cytoskeleton Electron tomography Electrophysiology Endoplasmic reticulum Macromolecular architecture Plasmodesmata Sphincter 



Cucumber mosaic virus


Endoplasmic reticulum


Functional assay


Fluorescence microscopy


Fluorescent protein fusion observed using fluorescence microscopy


Green fluorescent protein


Glyco phosphatidyl inositol


Immunofluorescence microscopy


Immune-gold transmission electron microscopy


Movement protein of Tobacco mosaic virus


Movement protein of Turnip vein-clearing mosaic virus


Non-cell autonomous protein


Protein analyses such as immune-blotting and proteomics




Red fluorescent protein


Reactive oxygen species


Size exclusion limit


Transmission electron microscopy


Yellow fluorescent protein



RLO thanks the Australian Research Council for financial support and DYTL thanks the Grains Research and Development Corporation for a postgraduate research award.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robyn L. Overall
    • 1
  • Danny Y. T. Liu
    • 2
  • Deborah A. Barton
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological SciencesThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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