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Plant Physiol. 2005 Sep;139(1):458-65. Epub 2005 Aug 12.

The root tip and accelerating region suppress elongation of the decelerating region without any effects on cell turgor in primary roots of maize under water stress.

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  • 1Graduate School of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Japan.


To identify the region in which a root perceives a decrease in the ambient water potential and changes its elongation rate, we applied two agar blocks (1 x 1 x 1 mm(3)) with low water potential bilaterally to primary roots of maize (Zea mays) at various positions along the root. When agar blocks with a water potential of -1.60 MPa (-1.60-MPa blocks) or lower were attached to a root tip, the rate of elongation decreased. This decrease did not result from any changes in the water status of elongating cells and was not reversed when the -1.60-MPa blocks were replaced by -0.03-MPa blocks. The rate decreased slightly and was unaffected, respectively, when -1.60-MPa blocks were applied to the so-called decelerating region of the elongating zone and the mature region. However, the rate decreased markedly and did not recover for several hours at least when such blocks were attached to the accelerating region. In this case, the turgor pressure of the elongating cells decreased immediately after the application of the blocks and recovered thereafter. The decrease in elongation rate caused by -1.60-MPa blocks applied to the root tip was unaffected by additional -0.03-MPa blocks applied to the accelerating region and vice versa. We concluded that a significant reduction in root growth could be induced by water stress at the root tip, as well as in the accelerating region of the elongating zone, and that transmission of some signal from these regions to the decelerating region might contribute to the suppression of cell elongation in the elongation region.

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