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J Theor Biol. 2008 Jul 21;253(2):363-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.02.042. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Model for calcium dependent oscillatory growth in pollen tubes.

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Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, McGill University, 3600 Rue University, Montréal, Québec H3A2T8, Canada.


Experiments have shown that pollen tubes grow in an oscillatory mode, the mechanism of which is poorly understood. We propose a theoretical growth model of pollen tubes exhibiting such oscillatory behaviour. The pollen tube and the surrounding medium are represented by two immiscible fluids separated by an interface. The physical variables are pressure, surface tension, density and viscosity, which depend on relevant biological quantities, namely calcium concentration and thickness of the cell wall. The essential features generally believed to control oscillating growth are included in the model, namely a turgor pressure, a viscous cell wall which yields under pressure, stretch-activated calcium channels which transport calcium ions into the cytoplasm and an exocytosis rate dependent on the cytosolic calcium concentration in the apex of the cell. We find that a calcium dependent vesicle recycling mechanism is necessary to obtain an oscillating growth rate in our model. We study the variation in the frequency of the growth rate by changing the extracellular calcium concentration and the density of ion channels in the membrane. We compare the predictions of our model with experimental data on the frequency of oscillation versus growth speed, calcium concentration and density of calcium channels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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