Plant cells are connected through plasmodesmata (PD), membrane-lined channels that allow symplastic movement of molecules between cells. However, little is known about the role of PD-mediated signaling during plant morphogenesis. Here, we describe an Arabidopsis gene, CALS3/GSL12. Gain-of-function mutations in CALS3 result in increased accumulation of callose (β-1,3-glucan) at the PD, a decrease in PD aperture, defects in root development, and reduced intercellular trafficking. Enhancement of CALS3 expression during phloem development suppressed loss-of-function mutations in the phloem abundant callose synthase, CALS7 indicating that CALS3 is a bona fide callose synthase. CALS3 alleles allowed us to spatially and temporally control the PD aperture between plant tissues. Using this tool, we are able to show that movement of the transcription factor SHORT-ROOT and microRNA165 between the stele and the endodermis is PD dependent. Taken together, we conclude that regulated callose biosynthesis at PD is essential for cell signaling.
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