A tension-adhesion feedback loop in plant epidermis
eLife 2018; 7:e34460

Verger S, Long Y, Boudaoud A, Hamant O

Abstract
Mechanical forces have emerged as coordinating signals for most cell functions. Yet, because forces are invisible, mapping tensile stress patterns in tissues remains a major challenge in all kingdoms. Here we take advantage of the adhesion defects in the Arabidopsis mutant quasimodo1 (qua1) to deduce stress patterns in tissues. By reducing the water potential and epidermal tension in planta, we rescued the adhesion defects in qua1, formally associating gaping and tensile stress patterns in the mutant. Using suboptimal water potential conditions, we revealed the relative contributions of shape- and growth-derived stress in prescribing maximal tension directions in aerial tissues. Consistently, the tension patterns deduced from the gaping patterns in qua1 matched the pattern of cortical microtubules, which are thought to align with maximal tension, in wild-type organs. Conversely, loss of epidermis continuity in the qua1 mutant hampered supracellular microtubule alignments, revealing that coordination through tensile stress requires cell-cell adhesion.

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