In plants, plasmodesmata (PD) are nanopores that serve as channels for molecular cell-to-cell transport. Precise control of PD permeability is essential to regulate processes such as growth and tissue patterning, photoassimilate distribution and defense against pathogens. Callose deposition modulates PD transport but little is known of the rapid events that lead to PD closure in response to tissue damage or osmotic shock. We propose a mechanism of PD closure as a result of mechanosensing. Pressure forces acting on the dumbbell-shaped ER-desmotubule complex cause it to be displaced from its equilibrium position, thus closing the PD aperture. The filamentous protein tethers that link the plasma membrane to the ER-desmotubule complex play a key role in determining the selectivity of the PD pore. This model of PD control compares favorably with experimental data on the pressure-generated closure of PD.