Plasmodesmatal gating in epidermal cells of Nicotiana tabacum was examined in expanding infection sites of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) expressing a fusion between the viral movement protein and the green fluorescent protein (MP-GFP). The infection sites were circular in profile and within 3 days post-inoculation had developed a brightly fluorescent leading edge, giving them a characteristic 'halo' shape. Co-localization of MP-GFP with callose demonstrated that nearly all epidermal cell plasmodesmata were targeted with MP-GFP. The fusion protein was located in the centre of the plasmodesmal pore, between paired callose platelets. Increase in plasmodesmatal size exclusion limit, as determined by the passage of microinjected 10 kDa Texas Red dextran, was restricted predominantly to cells within the fluorescent halo, and was virtually absent from cells in the centre of the expanding infection site. The plasmodesmata of these cells, however, remained fluorescently labelled with MP-GFP. Injections outside the fluorescent infection site failed to show movement of dextran, while dextran injected into cells at the leading edge moved inwards towards the centre of the lesion but not outwards into cells lacking GFP. Leaf incisions through cells ahead of the infection front halted the advance of the virus, indicating that virus replication was absent in non-fluorescent cells outside the infection site. The data provide the first demonstration that within an expanding infection site plasmodesmatal gating is under temporal control.