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Plant Physiol. 1998 Feb;116(2):643-9.

Arabidopsis thaliana responses to mechanical stimulation do not require ETR1 or EIN2.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005-1892, USA.


Plants exposed to repetitive touch or wind are generally shorter and stockier than sheltered plants. These mechanostimulus-induced developmental changes are termed thigmomorphogenesis and may confer resistance to subsequent stresses. An early response of Arabidopsis thaliana to touch or wind is the up-regulation of TCH (touch) gene expression. The signal transduction pathway that leads to mechanostimulus responses is not well defined. A role for ethylene has been proposed based on the observation that mechanostimulation of plants leads to ethylene evolution and exogenous ethylene leads to thigmomorphogenetic-like changes. To determine whether ethylene has a role in plant responses to mechanostimulation, we assessed the ability of two ethylene-insensitive mutants, etr1-3 and ein2-1, to undergo thigmomorphogenesis and TCH gene up-regulation of expression. The ethylene-insensitive mutants responded to wind similarly to the wild type, with a delay in flowering, decrease in inflorescence elongation rate, shorter mature primary inflorescences, more rosette paraclades, and appropriate TCH gene expression changes. Also, wild-type and mutant Arabidopsis responded to vibrational stimulation, with an increase in hypocotyl elongation and up-regulation of TCH gene expression. We conclude that the ETR1 and EIN2 protein functions are not required for the developmental and molecular responses to mechanical stimulation.

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