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Title: Cellular-level mechanisms of polarity and their role in plant growth
Author: Abley, Katie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 5732
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2014
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Coordinated cell polarity fields are essential for plant and animal development. Several models have been proposed for how these cell polarity fields are established. However, it remains unclear how different models are related to each other and how coordinated cell polarity fields are generated. Here, I present a hypothesis that both plant and animal cell polarity fields are based on a common intracellular partitioning (IP) mechanism that spontaneously generates cell polarity independently from pre-established asymmetries. I show how plant polarity fields may be accounted for through an auxin-mediated indirect cell-cell coupling mechanism that coordinates polarities established by IP, and provides an explicit molecular hypothesis that is consistent with current experimental data. I show that this model behaves similarly to a flux-based model of plant polarity in several scenarios, and that these models make testable predictions that differ from those of published up-the-gradient models. To test the different plant models, I use kanadi1kanadi2 (kan1kan2) mutant Arabidopsis leaves, which develop ectopic outgrowths, as a simple system to study the dynamics of polarity reorientations. I compare contrasting model predictions with observed polarity changes and patterns of auxin-related gene expression preceding the development of ectopic outgrowths. Together with an analysis of wild-type leaves, this reveals that indirect cell-cell coupling and flux-based models are more compatible than the up-the-gradient model with patterns of auxin biosynthesis and import in leaves. I next show that the CUC2 transcription factor is essential for kan1kan2 outgrowth development. Through modelling and experiments, I show that CUC2-regulation of auxin biosynthesis most-likely plays an important role in polarity reorientations. Finally, I present models for how epidermal and subepidermal PIN polarity patterns may be coordinated and lead to changes in growth. This work reveals the value of comparing different computational models with experimental data when investigating mechanisms of polarity generation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available