Protocol for mapping the variability in cell wall mechanical bending behavior in living leaf pavement cells

Wenlong Li, Sedighe Keynia, Samuel A. Belteton, Faezeh Afshar-Hatam, Daniel B. Szymanski, Joseph A. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mechanical properties, size and geometry of cells, and internal turgor pressure greatly influence cell morphogenesis. Computational models of cell growth require values for wall elastic modulus and turgor pressure, but very few experiments have been designed to validate the results using measurements that deform the entire thickness of the cell wall. New wall material is synthesized at the inner surface of the cell such that full-thickness deformations are needed to quantify relevant changes associated with cell development. Here, we present an integrated, experimental-computational approach to analyze quantitatively the variation of elastic bending behavior in the primary cell wall of living Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) pavement cells and to measure turgor pressure within cells under different osmotic conditions. This approach used laser scanning confocal microscopy to measure the 3D geometry of single pavement cells and indentation experiments to probe the local mechanical responses across the periclinal wall. The experimental results were matched iteratively using a finite element model of the experiment to determine the local mechanical properties and turgor pressure. The resulting modulus distribution along the periclinal wall was nonuniform across the leaf cells studied. These results were consistent with the characteristics of plant cell walls which have a heterogeneous organization. The results and model allowed the magnitude and orientation of cell wall stress to be predicted quantitatively. The methods also serve as a reference for future work to analyze the morphogenetic behaviors of plant cells in terms of the heterogeneity and anisotropy of cell walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1435-1449
Number of pages15
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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