Solutions to some key problems in the relationships between the structure and functions of plasmodesmata, a component of the plant intercellular communication system, are proposed on the basis of the theory of osmotic flows through porous membranes. The theory accounts for structural characteristics of plasmodesmata, such as their dimension, shape, and length. It considers the steric and adsorption potentials of the solution–cell wall interaction and estimates water and solute (e.g., sucrose) flows under the sustained difference of osmotic pressures at the ends of plasmodesmata. The theory predicts that the water flow through plasmodesmata increases with the widening of the neck constriction and reaches its peak when its size is equal to the diameter of the solute molecule. The water-flow direction was found to depend on the opening of the annulus in neck constrictions at negative adsorption potentials of the plasmodesmata channel walls. Taking into account the presence of sphincters in the neck constrictions, our data suggest the role of plasmodesmata as a modulator of osmotic water fluxes in plants.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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