Plasmodesmal regulation during plant–pathogen interactions
Plasmodesmata (PD) are plasma membrane]lined pores that connect neighbouring plant cells, bridging the cell wall and establishing cytoplasmic and membrane continuity between cells. PD are dynamic structures regulated by callose deposition in a variety of stress and developmental contexts. This process crudely controls the aperture of the pore and thus the flux of molecules between cells. During pathogen infection, plant cells initiate a range of immune responses and it was recently identified that, following perception of fungal and bacterial pathogens, plant cells initially close their PD. Systemic defence responses depend on the spread of signals between cells, raising questions about whether PD are in different functional states during different immune responses. It is well established that viral pathogens exploit PD to spread between cells, but it has more recently been identified that protein effectors secreted by fungal pathogens can spread between host cells via PD. It is possible that many classes of pathogens specifically target PD to aid infection, which would infer antagonistic regulation of PD by host and pathogen. How PD regulation benefits both host immune responses and pathogen infection is an important question and demands that we examine the multicellular nature of plant–pathogen interactions.