The Research

Intercellular communication through plasmodesmata: roles and regulation 

Plasmodesmata are membraneous channels embedded in plant cell walls that mediate the intercellular transport of both small and relatively large signalling molecules that control development. We focus on dissecting the developmental role and regulation of these channels and specifically pathways involving cell walls, callose and root signalling / responses. We use interdisciplinary approaches (cell and molecular biology, soft polymer physics and computer simulations) to model plasmodesmata structure and to identify the factors that control their composition and transport capacity. The aim is to elucidate their biological function and design strategies to manipulate their regulation for the improvement of important agricultural traits.

Model of Plasmodesmata transport pathways and regulation by callose turnover. Legend: PD: plasmodesmata; PM: plasma membrane; CW: cell walls; DT: desmotubule; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; CALS: callose synthase; PdBG: PD-located beta 1,3 glucanase.

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We thank our research funders:

https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/

https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/grants/

https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/