Regulation of solute flux through plasmodesmata in the root meristem. Academic Article uri icon


  • Plasmodesmata permit solutes to move between cells nonspecifically and without having to cross a membrane. This symplastic connectivity, while straightforward to observe using fluorescent tracers, has proven difficult to quantify. We use fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, combined with a mathematical model of symplastic diffusion, to assay plasmodesmata-mediated permeability in the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) root meristem in wild-type and transgenic lines, and under selected chemical treatments. The permeability measured for the wild type is nearly 10-times greater than previously reported. Plamodesmal permeability remains constant in seedlings treated with auxin (30 mM indoleacetic acid for 2 and 24 h; 100 nm indoleacetic acid for 2 h); however, permeability is diminished in two lines previously reported to have impaired plasmodesmal function as well as in wild-type seedlings treated for 24 h with 0.6 mM tryptophan. Moreover, plasmodesmal permeability is strongly altered by applied hydrogen peroxide within 2 h of treatment, being approximately doubled at a low concentration (0.6 mM) and nearly eliminated at a higher one (6 mM). These results reveal that the plasmodesmata in the root meristem carry a substantial flux of small molecules and that this flux is subject to rapid regulation.

publication date

  • April 2011