The mechanics behind plant development

Authors

  • Olivier Hamant,

    1. Laboratoire de Reproduction et Développement des Plantes, INRA, CNRS, ENS, Université de Lyon, 46 Allée d’Italie, F–69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
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  • Jan Traas

    1. Laboratoire de Reproduction et Développement des Plantes, INRA, CNRS, ENS, Université de Lyon, 46 Allée d’Italie, F–69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France
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Author for correspondence:
Olivier Hamant
Tel: +33472728981
Email: olivier.hamant@ens-lyon.fr

Abstract

Contents

 Summary369
I.Introduction369
II.The cellular basis of plant morphogenesis and plant mechanics370
III.From cells to organisms: a dialog between levels of organization374
IV.Biomechanics: some concepts and approaches375
V.Sensing forces: some clues on the molecular basis380
VI.Conclusion381
 Acknowledgements381
 References381

Summary

Morphogenesis in living organisms relies on the integration of both biochemical and mechanical signals. During the last decade, attention has been mainly focused on the role of biochemical signals in patterning and morphogenesis, leaving the contribution of mechanics largely unexplored. Fortunately, the development of new tools and approaches has made it possible to re-examine these processes. In plants, shape is defined by two local variables: growth rate and growth direction. At the level of the cell, these variables depend on both the cell wall and turgor pressure. Multidisciplinary approaches have been used to understand how these cellular processes are integrated in the growing tissues. These include quantitative live imaging to measure growth rate and direction in tissues with cellular resolution. In parallel, stress patterns have been artificially modified and their impact on strain and cell behavior been analysed. Importantly, computational models based on analogies with continuum mechanics systems have been useful in interpreting the results. In this review, we will discuss these issues focusing on the shoot apical meristem, a population of stem cells that is responsible for the initiation of the aerial organs of the plant.

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