Symplast  This page was last modified on 5 August 2010 at 09:28. 18/9/10


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The apoplastic and symplastic pathways

The symplast of a plant is the inner side of the plasma membranein which water (and low-molecular solutes) can freely diffuse.

The plasmodesmata allow the direct flow of small molecules such as sugars, amino acids, and ions between cells. Larger molecules, including transcription factors and plant viruses, can also be transported through with the help of actin structures.

This allows direct cytoplasm-to-cytoplasm flow of water and other nutrients along concentration gradients. In particular, it is used in the root systems to bring in nutrients from soil. It moves these solutes from epidermis cells through the cortex into the endodermisand eventually the pericycle, where it can be moved into the xylemfor long distance transport. It is contrasted with the apoplastic flow, which uses cell wall transport.

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