Diffusion and flow across shape-perturbed plasmodesmata nanopores in plants

Anneline H. Christensen, Howard A. Stone, Kaare H. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Plasmodesmata are slender nanochannels that link neighboring plant cells and enable the exchange of nutrients and signaling molecules. Recent experiments have demonstrated significant variability in the concentric pore shape. However, the impact of these geometric fluctuations on transport capacity is unknown. Here, we consider the effects on diffusion and advection of two ideal shape perturbations: a radial displacement of the entire central desmotubule and a harmonic variation in the cytoplasmic sleeve width along the length of the pore. We use Fick’s law and the lubrication approximation to determine the diffusive current and volumetric flow rate across the pore. Our results indicate that an off-center desmotubule always increases the pressure-driven flow rate. However, the diffusive current is only enhanced for particles comparable in size to the width of the channel. In contrast, harmonic variations in the cytoplasmic sleeve width along the length of the pore reduce both the diffusive current and the pressure-driven flow. The simple models presented here demonstrate that shape perturbations can significantly influence transport across plasmodesmata nanopores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number872
JournalEuropean Physical Journal Plus
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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