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Alim, Karen; Frey, Erwin (2010): Quantitative predictions on auxin-induced polar distribution of PIN proteins during vein formation in leaves. In: European Physical Journal E, Vol. 33, No. 2: pp. 165-173




The dynamic patterning of the plant hormone auxin and its efflux facilitator the PIN protein are the key regulator for the spatial and temporal organization of plant development. In particular auxin induces the polar localization of its own efflux facilitator. Due to this positive feedback auxin flow is directed and patterns of auxin and PIN arise. During the earliest stage of vein initiation in leaves auxin accumulates in a single cell in a rim of epidermal cells from which it ows into the ground meristem tissue of the leaf blade. There the localized auxin supply yields the successive polarization of PIN distribution along a strand of cells. We model the auxin and PIN dynamics within cells with a minimal canalization model. Solving the model analytically we uncover an excitable polarization front that triggers a polar distribution of PIN proteins in cells. As polarization fronts may extend to opposing directions from their initiation site we suggest a possible resolution to the puzzling occurrence of bipolar cells, such we offer an explanation for the development of closed, looped veins. Employing non-linear analysis we identify the role of the contributing microscopic processes during polarization. Furthermore, we deduce quantitative predictions on polarization fronts establishing a route to determine the up to now largely unknown kinetic rates of auxin and PIN dynamics.