EMBC 2016
Conference paper

Probing the micromechanics of the fastest growing plant cell - The pollen tube

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The pollen tube is a fast growing cellular protrusion that plays a key role in the reproductive process of flowering plants. It serves as an important model for studying cellular morphogenesis, anisotropic growth mechanisms, and cellular signaling in the plant sciences. The anisotropic growth of pollen tubes is driven by a finely tuned control of the intracellular turgor pressure and the extensibility of the cell wall. To decipher this internal feedback loop and mathematically model the growth process, a quantitative understanding of the mechanical properties of the cell wall is crucial, in addition to biochemical investigations. We report an integrated microfluidic-MEMS force sensor system that allows for high-throughput optical and mechanical investigations of pollen tubes. The system permits large-scale germination, growth, and optical phenotyping of pollen tubes empowering rapid micro-indentation measurements on these cells.