Plants sum and subtract stimuli over different timescales

Mathieu Rivière, Yasmine Meroz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mounting evidence suggests that plants engage complex computational processes to quantify and integrate sensory information over time, enabling remarkable adaptive growth strategies. However, quantitative understanding of these computational processes is limited. We report experiments probing the dependence of gravitropic responses of wheat coleoptiles on previous stimuli. First, building on a mathematical model that identifies this dependence as a form of memory, or a filter, we use experimental observations to reveal the mathematical principles of how coleoptiles integrate multiple stimuli over time. Next, we perform two-stimulus experiments, informed by model predictions, to reveal fundamental computational processes. We quantitatively show that coleoptiles respond not only to sums but also to differences between stimuli over different timescales, constituting evidence that plants can compare stimuli - crucial for search and regulation processes. These timescales also coincide with oscillations observed in gravitropic responses of wheat coleoptiles, suggesting shoots may combine memory and movement in order to enhance posture control and sensing capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2306655120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume120
Issue number42
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Funding

FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme824074
Human Frontier Science ProgramRGY0078/2019
Israel Science Foundation1981/14

    Keywords

    • computational processes
    • control theory
    • mathematical model
    • memory
    • plant tropism

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