Research Article: Another Brick in the Cell Wall: Biosynthesis Dependent Growth Model

Date Published: September 16, 2013

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Adelin Barbacci, Marc Lahaye, Vincent Magnenet, Roeland M H. Merks.


Expansive growth of plant cell is conditioned by the cell wall ability to extend irreversibly. This process is possible if (i) a tensile stress is developed in the cell wall due to the coupling effect between turgor pressure and the modulation of its mechanical properties through enzymatic and physicochemical reactions and if (ii) new cell wall elements can be synthesized and assembled to the existing wall. In other words, expansive growth is the result of coupling effects between mechanical, thermal and chemical energy. To have a better understanding of this process, models must describe the interplay between physical or mechanical variable with biological events. In this paper we propose a general unified and theoretical framework to model growth in function of energy forms and their coupling. This framework is based on irreversible thermodynamics. It is then applied to model growth of the internodal cell of Chara corallina modulated by changes in pressure and temperature. The results describe accurately cell growth in term of length increment but also in term of cell pectate biosynthesis and incorporation to the expanding wall. Moreover, the classical growth model based on Lockhart’s equation such as the one proposed by Ortega, appears as a particular and restrictive case of the more general growth equation developed in this paper.

Partial Text

Plant growth implies cell divisions and irreversible expansion of cell wall s. For the latter to occur, two concomitant conditions are required. The first one is the cell wall mechanical deformation in response to the cell turgor pressure build up. The latter results from the aquaporins regulated flow of water in the vacuole driven by osmotic gradient [1], [2]. The second condition is the cell capacity to synthesize, export and incorporate other bricks at the inner face of the cell wall to maintain its integrity [3], [4] and to cause its mechanical relaxation. This chemically mediated deformation consists in the reorganization of load-bearing cross-links between the different bricks in the cell wall and in the creation of new ones by the incorporation of new elements.