Intercellular protein trafficking through plasmodesmata

Plant Mol Biol. 1998 Sep;38(1-2):279-310.


During plant morphogenesis, groups of cells differentiate to form specialized tissues possessing distinct structures and functions. Cell specialization is a result of specific gene expression at the individual cell level. Coordination of differential gene expression among cells requires that cells communicate with one another. Plasmodesmata provide a cytoplasmic pathway for direct intercellular communication. Recent discoveries that macromolecules such as transcription factors, viral proteins, and plant defense-related proteins can traffic through plasmodesmata suggest that intercellular protein trafficking is potentially an important means to regulate plant developmental processes, physiological functions, plant-pathogen interactions, and plant defense reactions. Thus, elucidating the specific functions and mechanisms of intercellular protein trafficking has broad implications in understanding how a plant develops and functions at the molecular level. This review is to provide an update on this rapidly developing area of plant biology, with emphasis on the discussion of possible mechanisms underlying intercellular protein trafficking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Intercellular Junctions / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins