Lorentz Center - Quantitative Biology of Auxin Transport from 12 Jan 2015 through 16 Jan 2015
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    Quantitative Biology of Auxin Transport
    from 12 Jan 2015 through 16 Jan 2015


Quantitative Biology of Auxin Transport


Dates: 12-1-2015 to 16-1-2015


Scientific Organizers

·         Bert van Duijn (Leiden, The Netherlands)  

·         Sander Hille (Leiden, The Netherlands)  

·         Eric Kramer (Great Barrington, USA)  

·         Roeland Merks (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)  

·         Remko Offringa (Leiden, The Netherlands) 


Description and aims

Polar transport of the plant hormone auxin (PAT) directs patterning of embryos and tissues, initiation of new organs, and environmental responses. This workshop brought together a team of experts and young researchers to make a start with developing new quantitative modeling-experimental approaches, with a focus on aspects of PAT that are still poorly understood.


In smaller working groups, the following topics were discussed:

1.       Intracellular auxin transport: vesicles vs cytoplasmic streaming

2.       Auxin and coordinated cell polarization

3.       Long-distance polar auxin transport.

4.       Subcellular PIN polarity establishment and maintenance


Tangible outcomes and scientific breakthroughs

As a spin-off of the discussions in the group that discussed Topic 1, a set of experiments was conducted by Matous Glanc as member of the research group of Jiri Friml and in collaboration with Eva Zazamilova as follow-up to the workshop. These experiments were designed to test some of the model predictions that were found during the workshops. At the time of writing of this report the experimental data are being assessed in order to draw conclusions on the possible contribution of vesicles to the overall cell-to-cell transport of auxin.

The discussion among members of the topic 2 group has led to the recognition that a greater uniformity is needed in the mathematical description of the models, and that quantification of some of the parameters in these models requires more emphasis. As such the workshop has been successful in bringing together modelers and to stimulate their collaboration, and the unification of their models.

Along the same lines, Dr. Hille will visit Drs. Greiniesen and Marée in Norwich, UK, to present details of the mesoscopic model and discuss the possibility that this model may be used as a basis for the more detailed cellular model they are generating as a spin-off from Topic 3.



As a typical Snellius workshop, we focused on discussions in small groups and made a start in implementing our ideas in working mathematical and computational models. This worked well, resulting in enthusiastic and open discussions, and late working hours. The ease by which participants felt comfortable to share ideas and start new collaborations was particularly remarkable, because of the competitive nature of the auxin field. The limited overall size of the workshop, in combination with the small size of the working groups (around six to seven participants), and the balance between senior and junior participants contributed to this.