Naomi Nakayama (Royal Society University Research Fellow)
Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences,
SynthSys Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, and
Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions
University of Edinburgh
Plants as dynamic architecture – mechanically induced plasticity from the cell to organism levels
Biological structures are different from manmade structures in that they can grow and adapt while maintaining structural integrity. For example, bones remodel depending on the structural demands due to the exercise and weight of the animal. Plants strengthen their stems in response to physical distress, such as the increase in size and weight or being bent. Such dynamic structural stabilisation requires constant active sensing and response mechanisms within the biological cells. My group has embarked on multiscale, integrative research to unfold the mechanisms underlying the active structural calibration in plants. In particular we are developing two single cell resources to capture the dynamic cellular responses to changing environment outside the tissue context. We have developed microfluidic cell traps to precisely manipulate the physico-chemical environment of single cells. At the same time, we are also establishing inducible stem cell differentiation systems to create single cells equipped with characteristics specific to certain cell types. I will report our latest progress.