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A10: Plasticity of epidermal cell shape complexity in Arabidopsis thaliana in response to temperature

Dr. Arun Sampathkumar

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, 14476 Potsdam-Golm

Tel. +49-331-5678365, sampathkumarmpimp-golm.mpgde


Dr. Jacqueline Nowak

Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, 14476 Potsdam-Golm

Tel. +49-331-5678279, jacqueline.nowakuni-potsdamde



We will study the plastic response of leaf-cell shape to temperature. The morphology of epidermal pavement cells is important for withstanding the cells’ internal turgor pressure and forces due to the growth of inner leaf cells. The project is aimed at understanding the basis of cell shape plasticity in leaves of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana in response to varying temperatures. More specifically, we aim to determine the genetic architecture and molecular mechanisms of variation in leaf epidermal cell shape plasticity under different temperatures, and characterize the relation between reaction norms for features of the microtubule cytoskeleton, cell shape, cell packing and reaction norms for thermomorphogenesis.

The project will combine the use of natural variation, cell biology techniques, molecular perturbations and advanced image analysis to address the genetic architecture of leaf epidermal cell shape plasticity to different temperatures. Based on this, the molecular mechanisms that contribute to variation in leaf epidermal cell shape plasticity to temperature between accessions will be studied.

Our preliminary results of different Arabidopsis ecotypes show that there is a clear natural variation in phenotypic plasticity of cell shape related traits to different ambient temperatures. To promote scientific collaborations, the here developed tools for phenotyping and analysing cell shapes will be shared throughout the CRC.


Project-related publications

Breuer, D., Nowak, J., Ivakov, A., Somssich, M., Persson, S., and Nikoloski, Z. (2017). System-wide organization of actin cytoskeleton determines organelle transport in hypocotyl plant cellsProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 114, E5741-E5749.

Nowak, J., Eng, R. C., Matz, T., Waack, M., Persson, S., Sampathkumar, A., Nikoloski, Z. (2021) A network-based framework for shape analysis enables accurate characterization of leaf epidermal cells. Nature Communications 12 (1): 1-13.

Nowak, J., Persson, S., Nikoloski, Z. (2020) CytoSeg 2.0: automated extraction of actin filaments. Bioinformatics 36(9): 2950-2951.

Sampathkumar, A., Krupinski, P., Wightman, R., Milani, P., Berquand, A., Boudaoud, A., Hamant, O., Jonsson, H., and Meyerowitz, E.M. (2014). Subcellular and supracellular mechanical stress prescribes cytoskeleton behavior in Arabidopsis cotyledon pavement cells.Elife 3, e01967.

Schneider, R., Ehrhardt, D.W., Meyerowitz, E.M. Sampathkumar, A. (2022). Tethering of cellulose synthase to microtubules dampens mechano-induced cytoskeletal organization in Arabidopsis pavement cellsNature Plants 8, 1064–1073.