Mechanism of gibberellin-dependent stem elongation in peas

Daniel J. Cosgrove, Susan A. Sovonick-Dunford

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Stem elongation in peas (Pisum sativum L.) is under partial control by gibberellins, yet the mechanism of such control is uncertain. In this study, we examined the cellular and physical properties that govern stem elongation, to determine how gibberellins influence pea stem growth. Stem elongation of etiolated seedlings was retarded with uniconozol, a gibberellin synthesis inhibitor, and the growth retardation was reversed by exogenous gibberellin. Using the pressure probe and vapor pressure osmometry, we found little effect of uniconozol and gibberellin on cell turgor pressure or osmotic pressure. In contrast, these treatments had major effects on in vivo stress relaxation, measured by turgor relaxation and pressure-block techniques. Uniconozol-treated plants exhibited reduced wall relaxation (both initial rate and total amount). The results show that growth retardation is effected via a reduction in the wall yield coefficient and an increase in the yield threshold. These effects were largely reversed by exogenous gibberellin. When we measured the mechanical characteristics of the wall by stress/strain (Instron) analysis, we found only minor effects of uniconozol and gibberellin on the plastic compliance. This observation indicates that these agents did not alter wall expansion through effects on the mechanical (viscoelastic) properties of the wall. Our results suggest that wall expansion in peas is better viewed as a chemorheological, rather than a viscoelastic, process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-191
Number of pages8
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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