Regulated transport of the plant hormone auxin is central to many aspects of plant development. Directional transport, mediated by membrane transporters, produces patterns of auxin distribution in tissues that trigger developmental processes, such as vascular patterning or leaf formation. Experimentation has produced a lot of largely qualitative data providing strong evidence for multiple feedback systems between auxin and its transport. However the exact mechanisms concerned remain elusive and the experiments required to evaluate alternative hypotheses are challenging. Because of this, computational modelling now plays an important role in auxin transport research. Here we review current approaches and underlying assumptions of computational auxin transport models, including recent attempts to unify conflicting mechanistic explanations. In addition we discuss in general how computer simulation of these processes is proving to be an increasingly effective method of hypothesis generation and testing, and how simulation can be used to direct future experiments.
@article(SS-BioEssays-10, author = "Philip Garnett and Arno Steinacher and Susan Stepney and Richard Clayton and Ottoline Leyser", title = "Computer Simulation: the imaginary friend of auxin transport biology", journal = "BioEssays", volume = 32, number = 9, pages = "828-835", year = 2010 )