Modelling cell division and endoreduplication in tomato fruit pericarp

M. Apri, J. Kromdijk, P.H.B. de Visser, M. de Gee, J. Molenaar

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7 Citations (Scopus)


In many developing plant tissues and organs, differentiating cells switch from the classical cell cycle to an alternative partial cycle. This partial cycle bypasses mitosis and allows for multiple rounds of genome duplication without cell division, giving rise to cells with high ploidy numbers. This partial cycle is referred to as endoreduplication. Cell division and endoreduplication are important processes for biomass allocation and yield in tomato. Quantitative trait loci for tomato fruit size or weight are frequently associated with variations in the pericarp cell number, and due to the tight connection between endoreduplication and cell expansion and the prevalence of polyploidy in storage tissues, a functional correlation between nuclear ploidy number and cell growth has also been implicated (karyoplasmic ratio theory). In this paper, we assess the applicability of putative mechanisms for the onset of endoreduplication in tomato pericarp cells via development of a mathematical model for the cell cycle gene regulatory network. We focus on targets for regulation of the transition to endoreduplication by the phytohormone auxin, which is known to play a vital role in the onset of cell expansion and differentiation in developing tomato fruit. We show that several putative mechanisms are capable of inducing the onset of endoreduplication. This redundancy in explanatory mechanisms is explained by analysing system behaviour as a function of their combined action. Namely, when all these routes to endoreduplication are used in a combined fashion, robustness of the regulation of the transition to endoreduplication is greatly improved
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-43
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • cyclin-dependent kinase
  • transcriptional adapter protein
  • arabidopsis-thaliana trichomes
  • anaphase-promoting complex
  • f-box protein
  • solanum-lycopersicon
  • fission yeast
  • functional-analysis
  • endocycle onset
  • auxin


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