Diffusion and flow across shape-perturbed plasmodesmata nanopores in plants

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

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

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
Article number872
JournalEuropean Physical Journal Plus
Volume136
Issue number8
Number of pages15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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