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Planta. 1990 May;181(2):162-8.

Unilateral reorientation of microtubules at the outer epidermal wall during photo- and gravitropic curvature of maize coleoptiles and sunflower hypocotyls.

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Biologisches Institut II der Universitat, Freiburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


Auxin (indole-3-acetic acid) controls the orientation of cortical microtubes (MT) at the outer wall of the outer epidermis of growing maize coleoptiles (Bergfeld, R., Speth, V., Schopfer, P., 1988, Bot. Acta 101, 57-67). A detailed time course of MT reorientation, determined by labeling MT with fluorescent antibodies, revealed that the auxin-mediated movement of MT from the longitudinal to the transverse direction starts after less than 15 min and is completed after 60 min. This response was used for a critical test of the functional involvement of auxin in tropic curvature. It was found that phototropic (first phototropic curvature) as well as gravitropic bending are correlated with a change of MT orientation from transverse to longitudinal at the slower-growing organ flank whereas the transverse MT orientation is maintained (or even augmented) at the faster-growing organ flank. These directional changes are confined to the MT subjacent to the outer epidermal wall. The same basic results were obtained with sunflower hypocotyls subjected to phototropic or gravitropic stimulation. It is concluded that auxin is, in fact, involved in asymmetric growth leading to tropic curvature. However, our results do not allow us to discriminate between an uneven distribution of endogenous auxin or an even distribution of auxin, the activity of which is modulated by an unevenly distributed inhibitor of auxin action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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