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The Dynamics of Oil Bodies in A. thaliana Seeds: A Mathematical Model of Biogenesis and Coalescence

Authors: G. Trigui, B. Laroche, M. Miquel, B. Dubreucq, A. Trubuil


The subcellular organelles called oil bodies (OBs) are lipid-filled quasi-spherical droplets produced from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and then released into the cytoplasm during seed development. It is believed that an OB grows by coalescence with other OBs and that its stability depends on the composition of oleosins, major proteins inserted in the hemi membrane that covers OBs. In this study, we measured the OB-volume distribution from different genotypes of A. thaliana after 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 days of seed development. In order to test the hypothesis of OBs dynamics, we developed a simple mathematical model using non-linear differential equations inspired from the theory of coagulation. The model describes the evolution of OB-volume distribution during the first steps of seed development by taking into consideration the production of OBs, the increase of triacylglycerol volume to be stored, and the growth by coalescence of OBs. Fitted parameters values show an increase in the OB production and coalescence rates in A. thaliana oleosin mutants compared to wild type.

Keywords: Biogenesis, coalescence, oil body, oleosin, population dynamics.

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