New model is a leap forward in understanding plant organ growth

October 31, 2018, John Innes Centre
New model is a leap forward in understanding plant organ growth
The same principles of growth and division apply to leaves of all shapes and sizes. Credit: John Innes Centre

Cells are the building blocks of life that grow and divide to create all living things.

But how and division is integrated to form structures such as has until now remained unknown.

A team of researchers from the Coen Laboratory at the John Innes Centre addressed this problem using time-lapse imaging at a microscopic level to reveal the patterns of growth and cell divisions occurring as tiny buds morph into leaves.

The team used computational modelling to create a virtual leaf with a layer of dividing cells. Using this framework, they developed and tested hypotheses for how growth of the tissue and increase in cell number through division could be regulated.

The authors propose an integrated model of and division which generates dynamic distributions of cells sizes and shapes in different tissue layers, closely matching those observed experimentally.

The paper published in the peer reviewed journal PLOS Biology shows how genes control when and where cells grow and divide in the developing leaf bud. The result is a leaf with its characteristic shape and pattern of cell sizes.

Credit: John Innes Centre

Samantha Fox, lead author on the paper said: "The model provides a leap forward in our understanding of how growth and within a developing leaf are coordinated. It helps to further our understanding of how complex organs are shaped by nature and will act as a framework for further experimental study."

The paper, "Spatiotemporal co-ordination of cell division and growth during organ morphogenesis," appears this week in PLOS Biology

New model is a leap forward in understanding plant organ growth
In plants growth and division of cells can happen at the same time. Credit: John Innes Centre

Explore further: Scientists identify protein that controls leaf growth and shape

Related Stories

Scientists present first model of how buds grow into leaves

March 1, 2012

Leaves come in all shapes and sizes. Scientists have discovered simple rules that control leaf shape during growth. Using this 'recipe', they have developed the first computer model able to accurately emulate leaf growth ...

Study finds key to plant growth control mechanism

July 20, 2018

A Purdue University study has mapped a complex series of pathways that control the shape of plant cells. The findings are an important step toward customizing how plants grow to suit particular agronomic needs and improving ...

Development of a carnivorous pitcher leaf

March 16, 2015

Carnivorous plants have strange-shaped leaves, and they can grow on nutrient-poor environments by trapping and eating small animals. Charles Darwin, often called "the father of evolution", was also interested in carnivorous ...

Recommended for you

Poxvirus hijacks cell movement to spread infection

November 12, 2018

Vaccinia virus, a poxvirus closely related to smallpox and monkeypox, tricks cells it has infected into activating their own cell movement mechanism to rapidly spread the virus in cells and mice, according to a new UCL-led ...

Researchers discover genes that give vegetables their shape

November 12, 2018

From elongated oblongs to near-perfect spheres, vegetables come in almost every size and shape. But what differentiates a fingerling potato from a russet or a Roma tomato from a beefsteak? Researchers at the University of ...

Warming hurting shellfish, aiding predators, ruining habitat

November 11, 2018

Valuable species of shellfish have become harder to find on the East Coast because of degraded habitat caused by a warming environment, according to a pair of scientists that sought to find out whether environmental factors ...


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.