Putative pectate lyase PLL12 and callose deposition through polar CALS7 are necessary for long-distance phloem transport in Arabidopsis

Lothar Kalmbach, Matthieu Bourdon, Ilya Belevich, Josip Safran, Adrien Lemaire, Jung-ok Heo, Sofia Otero-Perez, Bernhard Blob, Jerome Pelloux, Eija Jokitalo, Ykä Helariutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In plants, the phloem distributes photosynthetic products for metabolism and storage over long distances. It relies on specialized cells, the sieve elements, which are enucleated and interconnected through large so-called sieve pores in their adjoining cell walls. Reverse genetics identified PECTATE LYASE LIKE 12 (PLL12) as critical for plant growth and development. Using genetic complementations, we established that PLL12 is required exclusively late during sieve element differentiation. Structural homology modeling, enzyme inactivation, and overexpression suggest a vital role for PLL12 in sieve element specific pectin remodeling. While short distance symplastic diffusion is unaffected, the pll12 mutant is unable to accommodate sustained plant development due to an incapacity to accommodate increasing hydraulic demands on phloem long distance transport as the plant grows – a defect that is aggravated when combined with another sieve element specific mutant callose synthase 7 (cals7). Establishing CALS7 as a specific sieve pore marker, we investigated the subcellular dynamics of callose deposition in the developing sieve plate. Using fluorescent CALS7 then allowed identifying structural defects in pll12 sieve pores that are moderate at the cellular level but become physiologically relevant due to the serial arrangement of sieve elements in the sieve tube. Overall, pectin degradation through PLL12 appears subtle in quantitative terms. We therefore speculate that PLL12 may act as a regulator to locally remove homogalacturonan thus potentially enabling further extracellular enzymes to access and modify the cell wall during sieve pore maturation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)926-939.e9
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology

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