How do plasmodesmata open and close?

The Dr Christine Faulkner lab identified that in response to the perception of some pathogen-derived molecules, plant cells immediately close their plasmodesmata and isolate themselves.

For fungal chitin, a specialised, plasmodesmata-located receptor initiates plasmodesmal responses.

For flg22 (derived from bacterial flagellin), plasmodesmal responses are mediated by a calmodulin-like protein that acts downstream of the receptor.

There are clearly specific mechanisms by which plasmodesmata integrate and respond to pathogen signals.

The lab are currently investigating the signalling cascades that mediate plasmodesmal closure and how they are different from those induced by the perception of the same molecules in the plasma membrane.