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Plasmadesmata

Plasmadesmata (singular, plasmadesma) are microscopic channels of plantsfacilitating transport and communication between individual cells. Unlike animal cellsplant cells are protected by an impermeable cell wall; and as such, plasmadesmata are required for intercellular activity. Cells can utilize both passiveand active transport to move molecules and ions though the passage. A plasmadesma is constructed of three main layers, the plasma membrane, thecytoplasmic sleeve, and the desmotubule.

Related Topics:
Plants - Animal cells - Plant cells - Cell wall -Passive - Active transport - Plasma membrane

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Plasmadesmal Plasma Membrane

The plasma membrane portion of the plasmadesma is a continuous extension of the cellular plasmalemma. Similar in structure to most cellular phospholipid bilayers, the plasmadesmal membrane protects from loss of cytosol, protects from foreign materials such as pathogens, and provides anchoring for hydrophobicdomains of proteins.

Related Topics:
Plasmalemma - Phospholipid bilayers - CytosolPathogens - Hydrophobic - Proteins

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Cytoplasmic Sleeve

The cytoplasmic sleeve is enclosed by the plasma membrane and is an extension of the cytosol. Normally, no barrier separates the cytoplasma of two cells. Smaller molecules and ions such as sugars and amino acids can easily pass through bydiffusion without the need for additional chemical energy. However, the ends of the plasmadesma, called neck regions, can contain closely associated proteins capable of contracting to regulate passage much like animal cell gap junctions.

Related Topics:
Cytosol - Amino acids - Diffusion - Gap junctions

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Desmotubule

The desmotubule is a tightly woven phospholipid bilayer covered by actin and myosin filaments which traverses the plasmadesma. The desmotubule is connected directly to the endoplasmic reticulum of each of the adjacent cells forming a channel between the organelles of neighboring cells known as thedynamic endomembrane continuum. As such, the desmotubule is highly involved in intercellular polypeptide and lipid transport. Through the use of ATP, proteins associated with the desmotubule can expand the radius of the plasmadesma allowing larger unfolded proteins to pass through unimpeded.

Related Topics:
Actin - Myosin - Endoplasmic reticulum -Organelles - Polypeptide - ATP

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