[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Arabidopsis thaliana, like in other dicots, the shoot epidermis originates from protodermis, the outermost cell layer of shoot apical meristem. We examined leaf epidermis in transgenic A. thaliana plants in which CDKA;1.N146, a negative dominant allele of A-type cyclin-dependent kinase, was expressed from the SHOOTMERISTEMLESS promoter, i.e., in the shoot apical meristem. Using cleared whole mount preparations of expanding leaves and sequential in vivo replicas of expanding leaf surface, we show that dominant-negative CDKA;1 expression results in defects in epidermis continuity: loss of individual cells and occurrence of gaps between anticlinal walls of neighboring pavement cells. Another striking feature is ingrowth-like invaginations of anticlinal cell walls of pavement cells. Their formation is related to various processes: expansion of cells surrounding the sites of cell loss, defected cytokinesis, and presumably also, the actual ingrowth of an anticlinal cell wall. The mutant exhibits also increased variation in cell size and locally reduced waviness of anticlinal walls of pavement cells. These unusual features of leaf epidermis phenotype may shed a new light on our knowledge on morphogenesis of jigsaw puzzle-shaped pavement cells and on the CDKA;1 role in regulation of plant development via influence on cytoskeleton and plant cell wall.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The presence of diffuse morphogen gradients in tissues supports a view in which growth is locally homogenous. Here we challenge this view: we used a high-resolution quantitative approach to reveal significant growth variability among neighboring cells in the shoot apical meristem, the plant stem cell niche. This variability was strongly decreased in a mutant impaired in the microtubule-severing protein katanin. Major shape defects in the mutant could be related to a local decrease in growth heterogeneity. We show that katanin is required for the cell's competence to respond to the mechanical forces generated by growth. This provides the basis for a model in which microtubule dynamics allow the cell to respond efficiently to mechanical forces. This in turn can amplify local growth-rate gradients, yielding more heterogeneous growth and supporting morphogenesis.