Sieve pores of the sieve plates connect neighboring sieve elements to form the conducting sieve tubes of the phloem. Sieve pores are critical for phloem function. From the 1950s onwards, when electron microscopes became increasingly available, the study of their formation had been a pillar of phloem research. More recent work on sieve elements instead has largely focused on sieve tube hydraulics, phylogeny, and eco-physiology. Additionally, advanced molecular and genetic tools available for the model species Arabidopsis thaliana
helped decipher several key regulatory mechanisms of early phloem development. Yet, the downstream differentiation processes which form the conductive sieve tube are still largely unknown, and our understanding of sieve pore formation has only moderately progressed. Here, we summarize our current knowledge on sieve pore formation and present relevant recent advances in related fields such as sieve element evolution, physiology, and plasmodesmata formation.
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