Leaf morphogenesis: The multifaceted roles of mechanics

Kexin Guo, Changjin Huang, Yansong Miao, Daniel J. Cosgrove, K. Jimmy Hsia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Plants produce a rich diversity of biological forms, and the diversity of leaves is especially notable. Mechanisms of leaf morphogenesis have been studied in the past two decades, with a growing focus on the interactive roles of mechanics in recent years. Growth of plant organs involves feedback by mechanical stress: growth induces stress, and stress affects growth and morphogenesis. Although much attention has been given to potential stress-sensing mechanisms and cellular responses, the mechanical principles guiding morphogenesis have not been well understood. Here we synthesize the overarching roles of mechanics and mechanical stress in multilevel and multiple stages of leaf morphogenesis, encompassing leaf primordium initiation, phyllotaxis and venation patterning, and the establishment of complex mature leaf shapes. Moreover, the roles of mechanics at multiscale levels, from subcellular cytoskeletal molecules to single cells to tissues at the organ scale, are articulated. By highlighting the role of mechanical buckling in the formation of three-dimensional leaf shapes, this review integrates the perspectives of mechanics and biology to provide broader insights into the mechanobiology of leaf morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1098-1119
Number of pages22
JournalMolecular plant
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 4 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science


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