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Cell. 2016 Jun 30;166(1):222-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.05.002. Epub 2016 Jun 2.

Morphomechanical Innovation Drives Explosive Seed Dispersal.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, 50829 Köln, Germany.
2
Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG, UK.
3
Structure and Motion Laboratory, Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hawkshead Lane, Hatfield AL9 7TA, UK.
4
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, 50829 Köln, Germany; Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern, Switzerland.
5
Plant Sciences Department, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK.
6
Mechanical Engineering Department, University College London, Torrington Place, London WC1E 7JE, UK.
7
Zoology Department, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.
8
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, 50829 Köln, Germany. Electronic address: hay@mpipz.mpg.de.

Abstract

How mechanical and biological processes are coordinated across cells, tissues, and organs to produce complex traits is a key question in biology. Cardamine hirsuta, a relative of Arabidopsis thaliana, uses an explosive mechanism to disperse its seeds. We show that this trait evolved through morphomechanical innovations at different spatial scales. At the organ scale, tension within the fruit wall generates the elastic energy required for explosion. This tension is produced by differential contraction of fruit wall tissues through an active mechanism involving turgor pressure, cell geometry, and wall properties of the epidermis. Explosive release of this tension is controlled at the cellular scale by asymmetric lignin deposition within endocarp b cells-a striking pattern that is strictly associated with explosive pod shatter across the Brassicaceae plant family. By bridging these different scales, we present an integrated mechanism for explosive seed dispersal that links evolutionary novelty with complex trait innovation. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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PMID:
27264605
PMCID:
PMC4930488
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2016.05.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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