Elastic stresses influence formation of leaf veins

Apr 11, 2008

Elastic stresses may play a crucial role in determining a leaf's venation pattern, according to a joint Argentinian-French study published April 11th in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology. The researchers have developed a model that reproduces statistical properties of venation patterns, based on the assumption that cells can suffer abrupt elastic distortions during growth. These distortions appear due to the elastic stresses generated by the unequal growth rate of different leaf tissues.

Leaf veins are the channels that conduct substances within the leaf and lend support to the leaf tissue. The accepted view of vein formation claims that the transport of the hormone auxin triggers cell differentiation to form veins. Although auxin plays a fundamental role in vein formation, there are important features of the leaf vascular system which remain unexplained. In particular, flux of auxin would produce a tree-like branched vein pattern, reminiscent of a river network, while real venation patterns are highly interconnected, more akin to a crack pattern in mud or paint.

These facts led Fabiana Laguna, Steffen Bohn, and Eduardo Jagla to further analyze a previously-proposed hypothesis that elastic stresses play an important role in leaf venation. To test whether this hypothesis could sustain a quantitative comparison with actual venation patterns, they developed and implemented a numerical model, and found simulated patterns with statistical properties similar to natural ones.

The full explanation for the development of veins could involve both elastic stresses and the influence of auxin, the authors say. They believe that their study could trigger further experimental work to test the relevance of elastic stresses in vein formation.

Citation: Laguna MF, Bohn S, Jagla EA (2008) The Role of Elastic Stresses on Leaf Venation Morphogenesis. PLoS Comput Biol 4(4): e1000055. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000055 (www.ploscompbiol.org/doi/pcbi.1000055)

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: PacifiCorp Energy pleads guilty in bird deaths

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Brazil: Google fined in Petrobras probe

38 minutes ago

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

Atari's 'E.T.' game joins Smithsonian collection

58 minutes ago

One of the "E.T." Atari game cartridges unearthed this year from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert has been added to the video game history collection at the Smithsonian.

Sony threatens to sue for publishing stolen emails

1 hour ago

A lawyer representing Sony Pictures Entertainment is warning news organizations not to publish details of company files leaked by hackers in one of the largest digital breaches ever against an American company.

Microsoft builds support over Ireland email case

1 hour ago

Microsoft said Monday it had secured broad support from a coalition of influential technology and media firms as it seeks to challenge a US ruling ordering it to hand over emails stored on a server in Ireland.

Recommended for you

A vegetarian carnivorous plant

23 hours ago

Carnivorous plants catch and digest tiny animals in order and derive benefits for their nutrition. Interestingly the trend towards vegetarianism seems to overcome carnivorous plants as well. The aquatic carnivorous bladderwort, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.