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Multiscale mechanical signaling in plants

Objective

During development, living organisms change shape and thus also change structure. The resulting pattern of force controls cell behavior and thus development. However, the molecular mechanoperception mechanisms involved are only partially understood and how organs integrate local and global patterns of forces is another open question. Plants are ideal systems to study the multicellular implications of mechanotransduction in development because their mechanics is mainly mediated by the cell wall and cells do not move. In past work, we showed that microtubules align with maximal tensile stress direction in planta, thereby guiding the deposition of stiff cellulose microfibrils in cell walls, thus altering organ shape in a feedback loop. Based on our preliminary data, we will test the hypothesis that microtubules are their own mechanosensors, and that wall sensing interferes with this response to account for cell geometry or intercellular cues. The main technical breakthrough behind MUSIX is the introduction of a novel, high-throughput, single cell system in which the wall is replaced by an artificial well, enabling its mechanics and chemistry to be modulated. This simpler approach will allow us to dissect the contribution of wall components in mechanosensing in the absence of interfering global molecular cues. We will then integrate these biophysical mechanisms in multicellular development. Using natural and artificial mosaics (Cre-Lox system) in plant organoids and real organs, we will explore how the autonomous microtubule response to stress integrates mechanical conflicts between adjacent cells in tissues through wall sensing. This work has important implications beyond plant science, including cell signaling (how cells perceive their environment), developmental proprioception (how organs perceive and monitor their own shape and growth), compensation (how organs manage growth-derived mechanical conflicts) and robustness (how tissues manage growth fluctuations).

Call for proposal

ERC-2020-ADG
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Host institution

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE RECHERCHE POUR L'AGRICULTURE, L'ALIMENTATION ET L'ENVIRONNEMENT
Address
147 Rue De L'universite
75007 Paris Cedex 07
France
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 2 176 170

Beneficiaries (1)

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE RECHERCHE POUR L'AGRICULTURE, L'ALIMENTATION ET L'ENVIRONNEMENT
France
EU contribution
€ 2 176 170
Address
147 Rue De L'universite
75007 Paris Cedex 07
Activity type
Research Organisations