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Plant Physiol. 1995 Nov;109(3):861-870.

Temperature Affects Expansion Rate of Maize Leaves without Change in Spatial Distribution of Cell Length (Analysis of the Coordination between Cell Division and Cell Expansion).

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Laboratoire d'Ecophysiologie des Plantes sous Stress Environnementaux, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier, France.


We have analyzed the way in which temperature affects leaf elongation rate of maize (Zea mays L.) leaves, while spatial distributions (observed at a given time) of cell length and of proportion of cells in DNA replication are unaffected. We have evaluated, in six growth chamber experiments with constant temperatures (from 13 to 34[deg]C) and two field experiments with fluctuating temperatures, (a) the spatial distributions of cell length and of leaf elongation rate, and (b) the distribution of cell division, either by using the continuity equation or by flow cytometry. Leaf elongation rate was closely related to meristem temperature, with a common relationship in the field and in the growth chamber. Cell division and cell elongation occurred in the first 20 and 60 mm after the ligule, respectively, at all temperatures. Similar quantitative responses to temperature were observed for local cell division and local tissue expansion rates (common x intercept and normalized slope), and both responses were spatially uniform over the whole expanding zone (common time courses in thermal time). As a consequence, faster cell elongation matched faster cell division rate and faster elongation was compensated for by faster cell displacement, resulting in temperature-invariant profiles of cell length and of proportion of dividing cells. Cell-to-cell communication, therefore, was not necessary to account for coordination.

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