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The mechanics of Seed Development

During development, cell-to-cell signaling through biochemical factors provides positional information for cells to acquire an identity that will determine their growth and differentiation pattern. However, organ growth also depends on mechanical interactions between cells and tissues. These interactions generate patterns of mechanical forces that can be sensed by cells and affect a variety of processes such as gene expression, polarity, growth and division. As mechanical stress patterns depend on organ growth and shape, mechanical forces could thus be used as signals for cells to get information on changes occurring at organ scale during morphogenesis.
In my group, we are studying how tissue mechanics regulate plant organ growth using the seed of Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system. Seed growth mainly depends on biochemical and mechanical interactions between two distinct compartments: the endosperm and the testa. The endosperm is a triploid zygotic compartment filling most of the inner space of the seed at early stages of development and whose turgor pressure is thought to be driving force for growth. The testa (or seed coat) is composed of several layers derived from the maternal integuments of the ovule and is thought to restrict growth through cell wall stiffening and thickening, notably thanks to the perception of the tension induced in the testa by endosperm expansion.

Using experimental approaches and computational models developed in collaboration with Olivier Ali from the MOSAIC team (RDP), we are studying the mechanical regulation of seed growth by:
1. Investigating the contribution of endosperm turgor to seed growth
2. Charactering the genetic determinants controlling the mechanical identity of the testa
3. Testing whether testa response to forces determines seed shape

Goup members:

 Benoit Landrein, Permanent Researcher (PI, CNRS), mail: benoit.landrein(at)
 Audrey Creff, Permanent Engineer (IE CNRS)
 Camille Bied, PhD student (ENS)
 Amélie Bauer, PhD student (CNRS), co-supervised with Gwyneth Ingram (CNRS) and John Golz (University of Melbourne)


Main collaborators:

 Olivier Ali, MOSAIC team, RDP laboratory
 Gwyneth Ingram, Seed Development team, RDP laboratory
 John Golz, University of Melbourne

Recent work from the group:

 Creff A, Ali O, Bayle V, Ingram G and Landrein B. 2021. Endosperm turgor both promotes and restrict seed growth and size. BioRxiv.

 Landrein B, Ingram G. 2019. Connected through the force: mechanical signals in plant development. Journal of Experimental Botany.

Previous publications from the Seed Development team related to this project:

 Beauzamy L, Fourquin C, Dubrulle N, Boursiac Y, Boudaoud A, Ingram G. 2016. Endosperm turgor pressure decreases during early Arabidopsis seed development. Development.

 Creff A, Brocard L, Ingram G. 2015. A mechanically sensitive cell layer regulates the physical properties of the Arabidopsis seed coat. Nature Communications.

Previous work from the PI:

During my PhD and my Post-doctorate, I studied how mechanical and environmental signals affect the development of the shoot apical meristem, the structure generating all of the aerial organs of the plant. Here are a selection of publications related to this subject:

 Lopes FL, Galvan-Ampudia C, Landrein B. 2020. WUSCHEL in the shoot apical meristem: old player, new tricks. Journal of Experimental Botany.

 Landrein B, Formosa-Jordan P, Malivert A, Schuster C, Melnyk CW, Yang W, Turnbull C, Meyerowitz EM, Locke JCW, Jönsson H. 2018. Nitrate modulates stem cell dynamics in Arabidopsis shoot meristems through cytokinins. PNAS. doi:

 Gruel J, Landrein B, Tarr P, Schuster C, Refahi Y, Sampathkumar A, Hamant O, Meyerowitz EM, Jönsson H. 2016. An epidermis-driven mechanism positions and scales stem cell niches in plants. Science Advances.

 Landrein B, Kiss A, Sassi M, Chauvet A, Das P, Cortizo M, Laufs P, Takeda S, Aida M, Traas J, Vernoux T, Boudaoud A, Hamant O. 2015. Mechanical stress contributes to the expression of the STM homeobox gene in Arabidopsis shoot meristems. eLife.

 Landrein B, Refahi Y, Besnard F, Hervieux N, Mirabet V, Boudaoud A, Vernoux T, Hamant O. 2015. Meristem size contributes to the robustness of phyllotaxis in Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany.

 Landrein B, Lathe R, Bringmann M, Vouillot C, Ivakov A, Boudaoud A, Persson S, Hamant O. 2013. Impaired cellulose synthase guidance leads to stem torsion and twists phyllotactic patterns in Arabidopsis. Current Biology.

 Landrein B, Hamant O. 2013. How mechanical stress controls microtubule behavior and morphogenesis in plants: history, experiments and revisited theories. Plant Journal.

 Uyttewaal M, Burian A, Alim K, Landrein B, Borowska-Wykręt D, Dedieu A, Peaucelle A, Ludynia M, Traas J, Boudaoud A, Kwiatkowska D, Hamant O. 2012. Mechanical stress acts via katanin to amplify differences in growth rate between adjacent cells in Arabidopsis. Cell.

Articles in this section

  • CV Benoit LANDREIN

    , by Annamaria Kiss

    Orcid: Google scholar: Mail: benoit.landrein(at) Phone: +33426731471
    CURRENT POSITION Since 2018 Permanent Researcher at CNRS (CR-CN), Laboratory of Plant Development (...)