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A Mechanical Model to Interpret Cell-Scale Indentation Experiments on Plant Tissues in Terms of Cell Wall Elasticity and Turgor Pressure

Richard Malgat 1, 2 François Faure 1 Arezki Boudaoud 2
1 IMAGINE - Intuitive Modeling and Animation for Interactive Graphics & Narrative Environments
Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, LJK - Laboratoire Jean Kuntzmann, INPG - Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble
Abstract : Morphogenesis in plants is directly linked to the mechanical elements of growing tissues, namely cell wall and inner cell pressure. Studies of these structural elements are now often performed using indentation methods such as atomic force microscopy. In these methods, a probe applies a force to the tissue surface at a subcellular scale and its displacement is monitored, yielding force-displacement curves that reflect tissue mechanics. However, the interpretation of these curves is challenging as they may depend not only on the cell probed, but also on neighboring cells, or even on the whole tissue. Here, we build a realistic three-dimensional model of the indentation of a flower bud using SOFA (Simulation Open Framework Architecture), in order to provide a framework for the analysis of force-displacement curves obtained experimentally. We find that the shape of indentation curves mostly depends on the ratio between cell pressure and wall modulus. Hysteresis in force-displacement curves can be accounted for by a viscoelastic behavior of the cell wall. We consider differences in elastic modulus between cell layers and we show that, according to the location of indentation and to the size of the probe, force-displacement curves are sensitive with different weights to the mechanical components of the two most external cell layers. Our results confirm most of the interpretations of previous experiments and provide a guide to future experimental work.
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Richard Malgat, François Faure, Arezki Boudaoud. A Mechanical Model to Interpret Cell-Scale Indentation Experiments on Plant Tissues in Terms of Cell Wall Elasticity and Turgor Pressure. Frontiers in Plant Science, Frontiers, 2016, 7, pp.1351. ⟨10.3389/fpls.2016.01351⟩. ⟨hal-01367360⟩

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