Cell-to-cell communication was investigated in epidermal cells cut from stem internodal tissue of Nicotiana tabacum and Torenia fournieri. Fluorescently labelled peptides and dextrans were microinjected using iontophoresis into the cytoplasm andcortical endomembrane network of these cells. The microinjected endomembrane network was similar in location and structure to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as revealed by staining with 3, 3'-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide (DiOC(6)). No cell-to-cell movement of dextrans was observed following cytoplasmic injections but injection of dextrans into the endomembrane network resulted in rapid diffusion of the probes to neighbouring cells. It is proposed that the ER acts as a pathway for intercellular communication via the desmotubule through plasmodesmata.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.