The turnover of callose (β-1,3-glucan) within cell walls is an essential process affecting many developmental, physiological and stress related processes in plants. The deposition and degradation of callose at the neck region of plasmodesmata (Pd) is one of the cellular control mechanisms regulating Pd permeability during both abiotic and biotic stresses. Callose accumulation at Pd is controlled by callose synthases (CalS; EC 184.108.40.206), endogenous enzymes mediating callose synthesis, and by β-1,3-glucanases (BG; EC 220.127.116.11), hydrolytic enzymes which specifically degrade callose. Transcriptional and posttranslational regulation of some CalSs and BGs are strongly controlled by stress signaling, such as that resulting from pathogen invasion. We review the role of Pd-associated callose in the regulation of intercellular communication during developmental, physiological, and stress response processes. Special emphasis is placed on the involvement of Pd-callose in viral pathogenicity. Callose accumulation at Pd restricts virus movement in both compatible and incompatible interactions, while its degradation promotes pathogen spread. Hence, studies on mechanisms of callose turnover at Pd during viral cell-to-cell spread are of importance for our understanding of host mechanisms exploited by viruses in order to successfully spread within the infected plant.
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