Exploring the cellular basis of organ curvature using 3D digital ovules

  • Date: Aug 23, 2022
  • Time: 02:00 PM - 03:30 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Kay Schneitz
  • Plant Developmental Biology, Technical University of Munich
  • Location: Central Building
  • Room: Seminar Room
  • Host: Arun Sampathkumar


Exploring the cellular basis of organ curvature using 3D digital ovules
Athul Vijayana, Rachele Tofanelli, Tejasvinee A. Mody, Ratula Ray, and Kay Schneitz
Plant Developmental Biology, School of Life Sciences TUM, Technical University of
Munich, Emil-Ramann-Str.4, Freising, Germany
How complex organ shape emerges in vivo is a fundamental question in biology. In this
study we focus on the cellular basis underlying the curved shape of the ovule, the major
female reproductive organ of higher plants. We ask the question what 3D cellular
patterns underly the curvature in the ovule of the model system Arabidopsis thaliana.
To address this topic, we have developed tools to study the 3D morphogenesis of ovules
with cellular resolution. Briefly, we perform 3D-imaging of fixed, cleared, and stained
ovules. The cell walls are stained with SR2200 and nuclei with TO-PRO-3 iodide. The
technique enables deep imaging and thus the 3D digital representation of the cellular
architecture even in interior regions (1). After deep imaging, we proceed to 3D cell
segmentation using the machine-learning-based PlantSeg pipeline (2), followed by celltype
labeling, and quantitative analyses using MorphoGraphX software
(morphgraphx.org) (3). Here, we present the results of tissue-specific and organ-wide
3D spatial quantitative analyses of cellular patterns contributing to ovule curvature in
Arabidopsis (4,5). To address ovule curvature further we investigate the cellular
architecture of ovules in plant species that exhibit differences in ovule curvature. The
comparative analysis revealed exciting insights into the cellular basis of ovule curvature.
We show the specific roles of different tissues, including their cell numbers, volumes,
growth rates, and their overall organization in shaping ovule curvature. In summary, we
have gained qualitative and quantitative insights into the cellular growth patterns that
underlie ovule curvature.

1. Tofanelli R, Vijayan A, Scholz S, Schneitz K. 2019 Protocol for rapid clearing and staining of
fixed Arabidopsis ovules for improved imaging by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Plant
Methods 15: 120.
2. Wolny A, Cerrone L, Vijayan A, Tofanelli R, Barro AV, Louveaux M, et al. 2020 Accurate and
versatile 3D segmentation of plant tissues at cellular resolution. Elife 9: e57613.
3. Strauss et al. 2022 Using positional information to provide context for biological image analysis
with MorphoGraphX 2.0. eLife 11:e72601.
4. Vijayan A, Tofanelli R, Strauss S, Cerrone L, Wolny A, Strohmeier J, et al. 2021 A digital 3D
reference atlas reveals cellular growth patterns shaping the Arabidopsis ovule. Elife. 10: e63262
5. Vijayan A, Strauss S, Tofanelli R, Mody TA, Lee K, et al. 2022 The annotation and analysis of
complex 3D plant organs using 3DCoordX. Plant Phys:kiac145

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