Spatiotemporal coordination of cell division and growth during organ morphogenesis

by Samantha Fox, Paul Southam, Florent Pantin, Richard Kennaway, Sarah Robinson, Giulia Castorina, Yara E. Sánchez-Corrales, Robert Sablowski, Jordi Chan, Verônica Grieneisen, Athanasius F. M. Marée, J. Andrew Bangham, Enrico Coen

A developing plant organ exhibits complex spatiotemporal patterns of growth, cell division, cell size, cell shape, and organ shape. Explaining these patterns presents a challenge because of their dynamics and cross-correlations, which can make it difficult to disentangle causes from effects. To address these problems, we used live imaging to determine the spatiotemporal patterns of leaf growth and division in different genetic and tissue contexts. In the simplifying background of the speechless (spch) mutant, which lacks stomatal lineages, the epidermal cell layer exhibits defined patterns of division, cell size, cell shape, and growth along the proximodistal and mediolateral axes. The patterns and correlations are distinctive from those observed in the connected subepidermal layer and also different from the epidermal layer of wild type. Through computational modelling we show that the results can be accounted for by a dual control model in which spatiotemporal control operates on both growth and cell division, with cross-connections between them. The interactions between resulting growth and division patterns lead to a dynamic distributions of cell sizes and shapes within a deforming leaf. By modulating parameters of the model, we illustrate how phenotypes with correlated changes in cell size, cell number, and organ size may be generated. The model thus provides an integrated view of growth and division that can act as a framework for further experimental study.

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