Dr Siobhan Braybrook, Cambridge
Plant Development: What do gels have to do with it?
As a community, when we study shape and growth in plants a genetic approach allows us to identify instructive players in a complex biological system. Our lab is particularly interested in how such instructions are translated into physical mechanisms of growth, via the cell wall. As each cell is contained within a cell wall, the wall must change physically to allow for cell expansion (and thus division) and shape change. We have been focusing on the role of the cell wall pectin matrix, its biochemistry and physical properties, as it relates to both the rate of cell growth and the direction of cell growth within the Arabidopsis hypocotyl. A role for pectin methylation status will be explored in hypocotyl anisotropy, and a case will be presented for anisotropic plasticity in allowing ‘growth choices’ based on a germinating seedling’s internal and external carbon resources.