Model-based analysis of Arabidopsis leaf epidermal cells reveals distinct division and expansion patterns for pavement and guard cells
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Plant physiology. - Rockville, Md
, p. 2172-2183
University of Antwerp
To efficiently capture sunlight for photosynthesis, leaves typically develop into a flat and thin structure. This development is driven by cell division and expansion, but the individual contribution of these processes is currently unknown, mainly because of the experimental difficulties to disentangle them in a developing organ, due to their tight interconnection. To circumvent this problem, we built a mathematic model that describes the possible division patterns and expansion rates for individual epidermal cells. This model was used to fit experimental data on cell numbers and sizes obtained over time intervals of 1 d throughout the development of the first leaf pair of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). The parameters were obtained by a derivative-free optimization method that minimizes the differences between the predicted and experimentally observed cell size distributions. The model allowed us to calculate probabilities for a cell to divide into guard or pavement cells, the maximum size at which it can divide, and its average cell division and expansion rates at each point during the leaf developmental process. Surprisingly, average cell cycle duration remained constant throughout leaf development, whereas no evidence for a maximum cell size threshold for cell division of pavement cells was found. Furthermore, the model predicted that neighboring cells of different sizes within the epidermis expand at distinctly different relative rates, which could be verified by direct observations. We conclude that cell division seems to occur independently from the status of cell expansion, whereas the cell cycle might act as a timer rather than as a size-regulated machinery.