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  1. Abstract The exact mechanism controlling cell growth remains a grand challenge in developmental biology and regenerative medicine. The Drosophila wing disc tissue serves as an ideal biological model to study mechanisms involved in growth regulation. Most existing computational models for studying tissue growth focus specifically on either chemical signals or mechanical forces. Here we developed a multiscale chemical-mechanical model to investigate the growth regulation mechanism based on the dynamics of a morphogen gradient. By comparing the spatial distribution of dividing cells and the overall tissue shape obtained in model simulations with experimental data of the wing disc, it is shown that the size of the domain of the Dpp morphogen is critical in determining tissue size and shape. A larger tissue size with a faster growth rate and more symmetric shape can be achieved if the Dpp gradient spreads in a larger domain. Together with Dpp absorbance at the peripheral zone, the feedback regulation that downregulates Dpp receptors on the cell membrane allows for further spreading of the morphogen away from its source region, resulting in prolonged tissue growth at a more spatially homogeneous growth rate. 
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  2. Nie, Qing (Ed.)
    Stem cell maintenance in multilayered shoot apical meristems (SAMs) of plants requires strict regulation of cell growth and division. Exactly how the complex milieu of chemical and mechanical signals interact in the central region of the SAM to regulate cell division plane orientation is not well understood. In this paper, simulations using a newly developed multiscale computational model are combined with experimental studies to suggest and test three hypothesized mechanisms for the regulation of cell division plane orientation and the direction of anisotropic cell expansion in the corpus. Simulations predict that in the Apical corpus, WUSCHEL and cytokinin regulate the direction of anisotropic cell expansion, and cells divide according to tensile stress on the cell wall. In the Basal corpus, model simulations suggest dual roles for WUSCHEL and cytokinin in regulating both the direction of anisotropic cell expansion and cell division plane orientation. Simulation results are followed by a detailed analysis of changes in cell characteristics upon manipulation of WUSCHEL and cytokinin in experiments that support model predictions. Moreover, simulations predict that this layer-specific mechanism maintains both the experimentally observed shape and structure of the SAM as well as the distribution of WUSCHEL in the tissue. This provides an additional link between the roles of WUSCHEL, cytokinin, and mechanical stress in regulating SAM growth and proper stem cell maintenance in the SAM. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Maini, Philip K. (Ed.)
  5. One of the central problems in animal and plant developmental biology is deciphering how chemical and mechanical signals interact within a tissue to produce organs of defined size, shape, and function. Cell walls in plants impose a unique constraint on cell expansion since cells are under turgor pressure and do not move relative to one another. Cell wall extensibility and constantly changing distribution of stress on the wall are mechanical properties that vary between individual cells and contribute to rates of expansion and orientation of cell division. How exactly cell wall mechanical properties influence cell behavior is still largely unknown. To address this problem, a novel, subcellular element computational model of growth of stem cells within the multilayered shoot apical meristem (SAM) of Arabidopsis thaliana is developed and calibrated using experimental data. Novel features of the model include separate, detailed descriptions of cell wall extensibility and mechanical stiffness, deformation of the middle lamella, and increase in cytoplasmic pressure generating internal turgor pressure. The model is used to test novel hypothesized mechanisms of formation of the shape and structure of the growing, multilayeredSAMbased onWUSconcentration of individual cells controlling cell growth rates and layer-dependent anisotropic mechanical properties of subcellular components of individual cells determining anisotropic cell expansion directions. Model simulations also provide a detailed prediction of distribution of stresses in the growing tissue which can be tested in future experiments. 
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