Christophe Ritzenthaler,2 and
Andrew J. Maule1
1John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UH, U.K.; 2Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, Université de Strasbourg, 12 rue du Général Zimmer 67084 Strasbourg cedex, France
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Accepted 8 July 2010.
As channels that provide cell-to-cell connectivity, plasmodesmata are central to the local and systemic spread of viruses in plants. This review discusses the current state of knowledge of the structure and function of these channels and the ways in which viruses bring about functional changes that allow macromolecular trafficking to occur. Despite the passing of two decades since the first identification of a viral movement protein that mediates these changes, our understanding of the relevant molecular mechanisms remains in its infancy. However, viral movement proteins provide valuable tools for the modification of plasmodesmata and will continue to assist in the dissection of plasmodesmal properties in relation to their core roles in cell-to-cell communication.
© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society