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Posture control in land plants: growth, position sensing, proprioception, balance, and elasticity

Abstract : The colonization of the atmosphere by land plants was a major evolutionary step. The mechanisms that allow for vertical growth through air and the establishment and control of a stable erect habit are just starting to be understood. A key mechanism was found to be continuous posture control to counterbalance the mechanical and developmental challenges of maintaining a growing upright structure. An interdisciplinary systems biology approach was invaluable in understanding the underlying principles and in designing pertinent experiments. Since this discovery previously held views of gravitropic perception had to be reexamined and this has led to the description of proprioception in plants. In this review, we take a purposefully pedagogical approach to present the dynamics involved from the cellular to whole-plant level. We show how the textbook model of how plants sense gravitational force has been replaced by a model of position sensing, a clinometer mechanism that involves both passive avalanches and active motion of statoliths, granular starch-filled plastids, in statocytes. Moreover, there is a transmission of information between statocytes and other specialized cells that sense the degree of organ curvature and reset asymmetric growth to straighten and realign the structure. We give an overview of how plants have used the interplay of active posture control and elastic sagging to generate a whole range of spatial displays during their life cycles. Finally, a position-integrating mechanism has been discovered that prevents directional plant growth from being disrupted by wind-induced oscillations.
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Submitted on : Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 8:08:49 PM
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Bruno Moulia, Renaud Bastien, Hugo Chauvet-Thiry, Nathalie Leblanc-Fournier. Posture control in land plants: growth, position sensing, proprioception, balance, and elasticity. Journal of Experimental Botany, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019, 70 (14), pp.3467-3494. ⟨10.1093/jxb/erz278⟩. ⟨hal-02269499⟩



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