Journal Article

A functional–structural modelling approach to autoregulation of nodulation

Liqi Han, Peter M. Gresshoff and Jim Hanan

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 107, issue 5, pages 855-863
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq182
A functional–structural modelling approach to autoregulation of nodulation

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Autoregulation of nodulation is a long-distance shoot–root signalling regulatory system that regulates nodule meristem proliferation in legume plants. However, due to the intricacy and subtleness of the signalling nature in plants, molecular and biochemical details underlying mechanisms of autoregulation of nodulation remain largely unknown. The purpose of this study is to use functional–structural plant modelling to investigate the complexity of this signalling system. There are two major challenges to be met: modelling the 3D architecture of legume roots with nodulation and co-ordinating signalling-developmental processes with various rates.

Methods

Soybean (Glycine max) was chosen as the target legume. Its root system was observed to capture lateral root branching and nodule distribution patterns. L-studio, a software tool supporting context-sensitive L-system modelling, was used for the construction of the architectural model and integration with the internal signalling.

Key Results

A branching pattern with regular radial angles was found between soybean lateral roots, from which a root mapping method was developed to characterize the laterals. Nodules were mapped based on ‘nodulation section’ to reveal nodule distribution. A root elongation algorithm was then developed for simulation of root development. Based on the use of standard sub-modules, a synchronization algorithm was developed to co-ordinate multi-rate signalling and developmental processes.

Conclusions

The modelling methods developed here not only allow recreation of legume root architecture with lateral branching and nodulation details, but also enable parameterization of internal signalling to produce different regulation results. This provides the basis for using virtual experiments to help in investigating the signalling mechanisms at work.

Keywords: Legume; soybean; soya bean; virtual plant; L-system; root reconstruction; synchronization; nodulation

Journal Article.  4787 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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