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How canalization can make loops: A new model of reticulated leaf vascular pattern formation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Francois Feugier


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Formation of the vascular system in plant leaves can be explained by the canalization hypothesis which states that veins are formed in an initially homogeneous field by a self-organizing process between the plant hormone auxin and auxin carrier proteins. Previous models of canalization can generate vein patterns with branching but fail to generate vein patterns with closed loops. However, closed vein loops are commonly observed in plant leaves and are important in making them robust to herbivore attacks and physical damage. Here we propose a new model which generates a vein system with closed loops. We postulate that the “flux bifurcator” level is enhanced in cells with a high auxin flux and that it causes reallocation of auxin carriers toward neighbouring cells also having a high bifurcator level. This causes the auxin flux to bifurcate, allowing vein tips to attach to other veins creating vein loops. We explore several alternative functional forms for the flux bifurcator affecting the reallocation of efflux carriers and examine parameter dependence of the resulting vein pattern.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Feugier FG, Iwasa Y

Publication type: Article

Journal: Journal of Theoretical Biology

Year: 2006

Volume: 243

Issue: 2

Pages: 235-244

ISSN (print): 0022-5193

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8541

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2006.05.022


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