Plant cells are surrounded by cellulosic cell walls, creating a potential challenge to resource sharing and information exchange between individual cells. To overcome this, plants have evolved channels called plasmodesmata that provide cytoplasmic continuity between each cell and its immediate neighbors. We first review plasmodesmata basics—their architecture, their origin, the types of cargo they transport, and their molecular components. The bulk of this review discusses the regulation of plasmodesmata formation and function. Historically, plasmodesmata research has focused intensely on uncovering regulatory or structural proteins that reside within or immediately adjacent to plasmodesmata. Recent findings, however, underscore that plasmodesmata are exquisitely sensitive to signals far removed from the plasmodesmal channel itself. Signals originating from molecules and pathways that regulate cellular homeostasis—such as reactive oxygen species, organelle-organelle signaling, and organelle-nucleus signaling—lead to astonishing alterations in gene expression that affect plasmodesmata formation and function.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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