Global Topological Order Emerges through Local Mechanical Control of Cell Divisions in the Arabidopsis Shoot Apical Meristem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Matthew D B Jackson
  • Daniel Kierzkowski
  • Soeren Strauss
  • Benoit Landrein
  • Olivier Hamant
  • Richard S Smith

Colleges, School and Institutes


The control of cell position and division act in concert to dictate multicellular organization in tissues and organs. How these processes shape global order and molecular movement across organs is an outstanding problem in biology. Using live 3D imaging and computational analyses, we extracted networks capturing cellular connectivity dynamics across the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem (SAM) and topologically analyzed the local and global properties of cellular architecture. Locally generated cell division rules lead to the emergence of global tissue-scale organization of the SAM, facilitating robust global communication. Cells that lie upon more shorter paths have an increased propensity to divide, with division plane placement acting to limit the number of shortest paths their daughter cells lie upon. Cell shape heterogeneity and global cellular organization requires KATANIN, providing a multiscale link between cell geometry, mechanical cell-cell interactions, and global tissue order.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-65.e3
JournalCell Systems
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019