Comparison of Domain Nucleation Mechanisms in a Minimal Model of Shoot Apical Meristem
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Existing mathematical models of the shoot apical meristem (SAM) explain nucleation and confinement of a stem cell domain by Turing's mechanism, assuming that the diffusion coefficients of the activator (WUSCHEL) and inhibitor (CLAVATA) are significantly different. As there is no evidence for this assumption of differential diffusivity, we recently proposed a new mechanism based on a bistable switch model of the SAM. Here we study the bistable-switch mechanism in detail, demonstrating that it can be understood as localized switches of WUSHEL activity in individual cells driven by a non-uniform field of a peptide hormone. By comparing domain formation by Turing and bistable-switch mechanisms on a cell network, we show that the latter does not require the assumptions needed by the former, which are not supported by biological evidences.