Plant Morphology

Plant puzzle patterns

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Science  16 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6381, pp. 1228-1229
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6381.1228-f

Jigsaw patterning in plant cells counters mechanical stress.

CREDIT: A. SAPALA ET AL., ELIFE 10.7554/ELIFE.32794 (2018)

The epidermal cells of plants have a jigsaw-like appearance when viewed microscopically. What is the function of this intricate pattern, and how does it arise? Sapala et al. suggest that the interlocking arrangement reduces mechanical stress in the cell wall—stress that arises from the turgor pressure from within. Simulation modeling and observations of several plant species and organs show that as growth proceeds, stress causes localized cellulose deposition, leading to small surface indentations in cell walls that gradually develop into the jigsaw pattern.

eLife 10.7554/eLife.32794 (2018).

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