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Plant Physiol. 1989 Sep;91(1):310-4.

Inhibitory action of auxin on root elongation not mediated by ethylene.

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  • 1Department of Botany, University of Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


The inhibitory effects of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) on elongation growth of pea (Pisum sativum L.) seedling roots were investigated in relation to the effects of these compounds on ethylene production by the root tips. When added to the growth solution both compounds caused a progressively increasing inhibition of growth within the concentration range of 0.01 to 1 micromolar. However, only ACC increased ethylene production in root tips excised from the treated seedlings after 24 hours. High auxin concentrations caused a transitory increase of ethylene production during a few hours in the beginning of the treatment period, but even in 1 micromolar IAA this increase was too low to have any appreciable effect on growth. ACC, but not IAA, caused growth curvatures, typical of ethylene treatment, in the root tips. IAA caused conspicuous swelling of the root tips while ACC did not. Cobalt and silver ions reversed the growth inhibitory effects induced by ACC but did not counteract the inhibition of elongation or swelling caused by IAA. The growth effects caused by the ACC treatments were obviously due to ethylene production. We found no evidence to indicate that the growth inhibition or swelling caused by IAA is mediated by ethylene. It is concluded that the inhibitory action of IAA on root growth is caused by this auxin per se.

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