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Plant Signal Behav. 2011 Nov;6(11):1828-30. doi: 10.4161/psb.6.11.17324. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Modeling pollen tube growth: feeling the pressure to deliver testifiable predictions.

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Department of Physiology, Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The frequency and amplitude of oscillatory pollen tube growth can be altered by changing the osmotic value of the surrounding medium. This has motivated the proposition that the periodic change in growth velocity is caused by changes in turgor pressure. Using mathematical modeling we recently demonstrated that the oscillatory pollen tube growth does not require turgor to change but that this behavior can be explained with a mechanism that relies on changes in the mechanical properties of the cell wall which in turn are caused by temporal variations in the secretion of cell wall precursors. The model also explains why turgor and growth rate are correlated for oscillatory growth with long growth cycles while they seem uncorrelated for oscillatory growth with short growth cycles. The predictions made by the model are testifiable by experimental data and therefore represent an important step towards understanding the dynamics of the growth behavior in walled cells.

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