Plasmodesmata – University of Copenhagen


Plant cells are interconnected by cytoplasmic cell-to-cell bridges (plasmodesmata) that allow for the exchange of solutes. By its structure a plasmodesma offers a cytosolic and a desmotubular pathway.

The physiological control of non-pathogenic, endogenous intercellular transport via plasmodesmata is largely undetermined yet and a main subject of our research.

We focus in particular on the role of plasmodesmata involved in pre-phloem sugar filtering and in the role of plasmodesmata in graft partner communication.

Grafting is an important tool to grow fruit trees with optimised properties with respect to yield and resistance against pathogens. However, some graft combinations fail because of late incompatibility of stock and scion. In collaboration with Ana Pina, Spain, we use tree callus cultures and in-vitro grafted sticklings to uncover cell communication issues in unsuccessful graft combinations.

Recent publications

  • Liesche J, Schulz A (2013) Modeling the parameters for plasmodesmal sugar filtering in active symplasmic phloem loaders. Frontiers in plant science 4 [Article 207]: 1-11
  • Pina A, Errea P, Schulz A, Martens HJ (2009) Cell-to-cell transport through plasmodesmata in tree callus cultures. Tree Physiology 29: 809-818
  • Pina A, Errea P, Martens HJ (2012) Graft union formation and cell-to-cell communication via plasmodesmata in compatible and incompatible stem unions of Prunus spp. Scientia Horticulturae 143: 144-150 
  • Liesche J, Schulz A (2015) Quantification of Plant Cell Coupling with Live-Cell Microscopy. In M Heinlein, ed, Methods in Molecular Biology: Plasmodesmata, Vol 1217. Springer New York, pp 137-148
  • Dölger J, Rademaker H, Liesche J, Schulz A, Bohr T (2014) Diffusion and bulk flow in phloem loading: a theoretical analysis of the polymer trap mechanism for sugar transport in plants. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 90: 042704


Ana Pina, Fruit Tree Department, Agrifood Research and Technology Center of Aragon (CITA), Avda Montañana, 930, 50059, Zaragoza, Spain