Plasmodesmata- Definition, Structure, Functions and Diagram


Plants are multicellular organisms that need to coordinate their activities and share resources among their cells. However, plant cells are surrounded by rigid cell walls that prevent direct contact and communication between them. How do plant cells overcome this barrier and maintain their unity and function? The answer is plasmodesmata.

Plasmodesmata are microscopic channels that connect the cytoplasm of adjacent plant cells. They are formed from the plasma membrane and the endoplasmic reticulum of the parent cells during cell division or later in development. They allow the transport of molecules and macromolecules, such as water, ions, sugars, hormones, proteins, RNA, and even viruses, between cells. They are involved in cell-cell communication, development, and cell wall deposition.

Plasmodesmata are essential for plant life because they enable the integration and coordination of cellular activities across tissues and organs. For example, plasmodesmata mediate the transport of signals and nutrients between the source and sink tissues in phloem. They also regulate the movement of transcription factors and developmental regulators that control gene expression and cell differentiation. Moreover, plasmodesmata modulate the deposition and remodeling of the cell wall, which affects the mechanical properties and shape of plant cells.