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Sympore & Plasmodesmata

Plasmodesmata are cell-cell bridges – or symplasmic pores – unique to plants.
They allow for nutrient transport and communication between cells. The major focus of our research is to unravel plasmodesmata composition and development, and to understand their function as cell-cell bridges for communication, nutrient transport and viral spread within plants. Despite their importance in all aspects of the plant life cycle, plasmodesmata proved extremely challenging to study at nearly all levels.

ERC Synergy Team

In the Sympore Synergy Team we integrate the interdisciplinary and complementary expertise from researchers in the fields of biophysics and cryo-electron tomography, advanced imaging and developmental signaling, high-end proteomics and lipidomics as well as interactomics, novel transport assays and cutting-edge biosensor technology.

4 Research Areas

With joint efforts and skills, we are addressing four research areas:

  1. Systematic quantitative identification of plasmodesmata components
  2. Localization and dynamics of plasmodesmata components
  3. Structures and molecular building blocks of diverse plasmodesmatal types
  4. Transport and signaling mechanisms of plasmodesmata

We expect breakthrough discoveries and a completely new understanding of plasmodesmatal function and evolution. Since plasmodesmata play key roles in nutrient allocation and virus spread, we lay the basis for novel biotech solutions in agriculture.

Facts & Figures

Project: Plasmodesmata – symplasmic pores for plant cell-to-cell communication (Sympore)

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Wolf B. Frommer (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

Project partners:

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Baumeister (Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried)
Prof. Dr. Waltraud Schulze (University of Hohenheim)
Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Simon (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

Funding period: 2021 – 2027
Total funding: 10 582 000 €
Funding program: European Research Council (ERC) - Synergy Grant


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Plasmodesmata Core Proteins

Our research team around Manuel Miras at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf has identified 20 plasmodesmata core proteins. They compared the previously published plasmodesmatal proteomes of four different plant species (Fernandez-Calvino et al., 2011; Kraner et al., 2017; Leijon et al., 2018; Brault et al., 2019). 20 candidates were common to all four proteomes and may,  thus, constutitute plasmodesmata core proteins. The manuscript by Miras et al. is submitted. The list of all analyzed proteins can be downloaded here.

Core Plasmodesmatal Proteome. The Venn diagram displays the number of proteins overlapping between four previously published plasmodesmatal proteomes.


Fernandez-Calvino, L., Faulkner, C., Walshaw, J., Saalbach, G., Bayer, E., Benitez-Alfonso, Y. and Maule, A., 2011. Arabidopsis plasmodesmal proteome. PloS one6(4), p.e18880.

Kraner, M.E., Müller, C. and Sonnewald, U., 2017. Comparative proteomic profiling of the choline transporter‐like1 (CHER 1) mutant provides insights into plasmodesmata composition of fully developed Arabidopsis thaliana leaves. The Plant Journal92(4), pp.696-709.

Leijon, F., Melzer, M., Zhou, Q., Srivastava, V. and Bulone, V., 2018. Proteomic analysis of plasmodesmata from populus cell suspension cultures in relation with callose biosynthesis. Frontiers in plant science9, p.1681.

Brault, M.L., Petit, J.D., Immel, F., Nicolas, W.J., Glavier, M., Brocard, L., Gaston, A., Fouché, M., Hawkins, T.J., Crowet, J.M. and Grison, M.S., 2019. Multiple C2 domains and transmembrane region proteins (MCTP s) tether membranes at plasmodesmata. EMBO reports20(8), p.e47182.

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