Sculpting the surface: Structural patterning of plant epidermis.
Plant epidermis are multifunctional surfaces that directly affect how plants interact with animals or microorganisms and influence their ability to harvest or protect from abiotic factors. To do this, plants rely on minuscule structures that confer remarkable properties to their outer layer. These microscopic features emerge from the hierarchical organization of epidermal cells with various shapes and dimensions combined with different elaborations of the cuticle, a protective film that covers plant surfaces. Understanding the properties and functions of those tridimensional elements as well as disentangling the mechanisms that control their formation and spatial distribution warrant a multidisciplinary approach. Here we show how interdisciplinary efforts of coupling modern tools of experimental biology, physics, and chemistry with advanced computational modeling and state-of-the art microscopy are yielding broad new insights into the seemingly arcane patterning processes that sculpt the outer layer of plants.
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