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Implementation of analog arithmetic division for control of reserve utilization in plants

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Starch reserves that accumulate in Arabidopsis leaves during the day decrease linearly with time at night to support metabolism and growth. The rate of decrease is adjusted to accommodate variation in the time of darkness and the level of starch, such that reserves last almost precisely until dawn. Starch levels are thus effectively arithmetically divided by the time to dawn to compute the appropriate starch degradation rate. To generate hypotheses about how this computation is achieved, we introduce two novel chemical kinetic models capable of implementing analog arithmetic division. We validate and distinguish between these models by experiments that permit investigation of the behavior of the starch degradation rate around the expected time of dawn. Our results are potentially relevant for any biological system dependent on a stored reserve for survival over a predictable period of time.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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