Ethylene insensitivity impedes a subset of responses to phosphorus deficiency in tomato and petunia

Hye Ji Kim, Jonathan P. Lynch, Kathleen M. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


The role of ethylene in growth and developmental responses to low phosphorus stress was evaluated using ethylene-insensitive 'Never-ripe' (Nr) tomato and etr1 petunia plants. Low phosphorus increased adventitious root formation in 'Pearson' (wild-type) tomato plants, but not in Nr, supporting a role for ethylene in adventitious root development and showing that ethylene is important for this aspect of phosphorus response. Low phosphorus reduced ethylene production by adventitious roots of both genotypes, suggesting that ethylene perception - not production - regulates carbon allocation to adventitious roots at the expense of other roots under low phosphorus stress. With the exception of its effect on adventitious rooting, Nr had positive effects on growth and biomass accumulation in tomato whereas etr1 tended to have negative effects on petunia. This was particularly evident during the recovery from transplanting, when the effective quantum yield of photosystem II of etr1 petunia grown with low phosphorus was significantly lower than 'Mitchell Diploid', suggesting that etr1 petunia plants may undergo more severe post-transplant stress at low phosphorus availability. Our results demonstrate that ethylene mediates adventitious root formation in response to phosphorus stress and plays an important role for quick recovery of plants exposed to multiple environmental stresses, i.e. transplanting and low phosphorus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1744-1755
Number of pages12
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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