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Physiol Plant. 1996 Jun;97(2):237-44.

Gravitropism in roots of intermediate-starch mutants of Arabidopsis.

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Dept of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.
Miami U, Oxford, OH


Gravitropism was studied in roots of wild type (WT) Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. (strain Wassilewskija) and three starch-deficient mutants that were generated by T-DNA insertional mutagenesis. One of these mutants was starchless while the other two were intermediate mutants, which had 51% and 60%, respectively, of the WT amount of starch as determined by light and electron microscopy. The four parameters used to assay gravitropism were: orientation during vertical growth, time course of curvature, induction, and intermittent stimulation experiments. WT roots were much more responsive to gravity than were roots of the starchless mutant, and the intermediate starch mutants exhibited an intermediate graviresponse. Our data suggest that lowered starch content in the mutants primarily affects gravitropism rather than differential growth because both phototropic curvature and growth rates were approximately equal among all four genotypes. Since responses of intermediate-starch mutants were closer to the WT response than to the starchless mutant, it appears that 51-60% of the WT level of starch is near the threshold amount needed for full gravitropic sensitivity. While other interpretations are possible, the data are consistent with the starch statolith hypothesis for gravity perception in that the degree of graviresponsiveness is proportional to the total mass of plastids per cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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