As multicellular organisms grow, positional information is continually needed to regulate the pattern in which cells are arranged. In the Arabidopsis root, most cell types are organized in a radially symmetric pattern; however, a symmetry-breaking event generates bisymmetric auxin and cytokinin signaling domains in the stele. Bidirectional cross-talk between the stele and the surrounding tissues involving a mobile transcription factor, SHORT ROOT (SHR), and mobile microRNA species also determines vascular pattern, but it is currently unclear how these signals integrate. We use a multicellular model to determine a minimal set of components necessary for maintaining a stable vascular pattern. Simulations perturbing the signaling network show that, in addition to the mutually inhibitory interaction between auxin and cytokinin, signaling through SHR, microRNA165/6, and PHABULOSA is required to maintain a stable bisymmetric pattern. We have verified this prediction by observing loss of bisymmetry in shr mutants. The model reveals the importance of several features of the network, namely the mutual degradation of microRNA165/6 and PHABULOSA and the existence of an additional negative regulator of cytokinin signaling. These components form a plausible mechanism capable of patterning vascular tissues in the absence of positional inputs provided by the transport of hormones from the shoot.
In Arabidopsis, lateral roots originate from pericycle cells deep within the primary root. New lateral root primordia (LRP) have to emerge through several overlaying tissues. Here, we report that auxin produced in new LRP is transported towards the outer tissues where it triggers cell separation by inducing both the auxin influx carrier LAX3 and cell-wall enzymes. LAX3 is expressed in just two cell files overlaying new LRP. To understand how this striking pattern of LAX3 expression is regulated, we developed a mathematical model that captures the network regulating its expression and auxin transport within realistic three-dimensional cell and tissue geometries. Our model revealed that, for the LAX3 spatial expression to be robust to natural variations in root tissue geometry, an efflux carrier is required--later identified to be PIN3. To prevent LAX3 from being transiently expressed in multiple cell files, PIN3 and LAX3 must be induced consecutively, which we later demonstrated to be the case. Our study exemplifies how mathematical models can be used to direct experiments to elucidate complex developmental processes.
The generation of off-flavors in soybean homogenates such as n-hexanal via the lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway can be a problem in the processed food industry. Previous studies have examined the effect of using soybean varieties missing one or more of the 3 LOX isozymes on n-hexanal generation. A dynamic mathematical model of the soybean LOX pathway using ordinary differential equations was constructed using parameters estimated from existing data with the aim of predicting how n-hexanal generation could be reduced. Time-course simulations of LOX-null beans were run and compared with experimental results. Model L(2), L(3), and L(12) beans were within the range relative to the wild type found experimentally, with L(13) and L(23) beans close to the experimental range. Model L(1) beans produced much more n-hexanal relative to the wild type than those in experiments. Sensitivity analysis indicates that reducing the estimated K(m) parameter for LOX isozyme 3 (L-3) would improve the fit between model predictions and experimental results found in the literature. The model also predicts that increasing L-3 or reducing L-2 levels within beans may reduce n-hexanal generation.
Soil carbon (C) dynamics and sequestration are controlled by interactions of chemical, physical and biological factors. These factors include biomass quantity and quality, physical environment and the biota. Management can alter these factors in ways that alter C dynamics. We have focused on a range of managed sites with documented land use change from agriculture or grassland to forest. Our results suggest that interactions of soil type, plant and environment impact soil C sequestration. Above and below ground C storage varied widely across sites. Results were related to plant type and calcium on sandy soils in our Northern sites. Predictors of sequestration were more difficult to detect over the temperature range of 12.4°C in the present study. Accrual of litter under pines in the moist Mississippi site limited C storage in a similar manner to our dry Nebraska site. Pre-planting heterogeneity of agricultural fields such as found in Illinois influences C contents. Manipulation of controls on C sequestration such as species planted or amelioration of soil quality before planting within managed sites could increase soil C to provide gains in terrestrial C storage. Cost effective management would also improve soil C pools positively affecting soil fertility and site productivity.
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