Plant Science

Shut the door on virus spread

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Science  22 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6468, pp. 967
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6468.967-a

Tomographic image of a plasmodesma between plant cells undergoing constriction to exclude viruses.

CREDIT: HUANG ET AL., PROC. NATL. ACAD. SCI. U.S.A. 116, 42 2019

Neighboring cells in a plant are linked by plasmodesmata that form tunnels through which the good, the bad, and the ugly can flow from one cell to another. During viral infection, defensive signals and viruses race through the resulting network of linked cells. The plant uses salicylic acid (SA) to signal the plasmodesmata to close off routes for infecting viruses. Huang et al. show that SA drives shifts in patches of lipid in the membranes of plasmodesmata through a mechanism regulated by the remorin protein family. The resulting lipid rafts stiffen the plasma membrane, and the plasmodesmata freeze into dysfunction, thus shutting the door on marauding viruses.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 116, 21274 (2019).

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