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Signaling in Multicellular Models of Plant Development

Jönsson, H., Shapiro, B.E., Meyerowitz, E.M. and Mjolsness, E.

In On Growth, Form, and Computers, S. Kumar and P.J. Bentley, eds. Academic Press, London, UK, pages 156-161.


The Shoot Apical Meristem (SAM) of plants is the biological target for a mathematical modeling of developmental systems. The full model incorporates cell growth, proliferation and mechanical interaction, as well as a model for the gene regulatory network (GRN). The GRN-model includes intracellular protein interactions, and also intercellular interactions in various forms. Also transportation of proteins between cells are allowed for. The resulting multicellular model framework is used for mimicking expression domains of known genes in the SAM. Our simulations address the widely discussed regulatory network of the CLAVATA1, CLAVATA3 and WUSCHEL genes, which is important for controlling the development of the SAM and thereby the complete plant. It includes interaction between genes expressed in non-overlapping spatial regions of the SAM, requiring a model where information flows between cells. We show the applicability of the proposed model as a helpful tool to go from current insufficient assumptions about the interactions, to a genetic network which is able to produce gene expression domains in-silico, agreeing with experimental data.