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Plant Physiol. 1969 Jul;44(7):955-8.

Ethylene, seed germination, and epinasty.

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Biology Department, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77004.


Ethylene activity in lettuce seed (Lactuca satina) germination and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) petiole epinasty has been characterized by using heat to inhibit ethylene synthesis. This procedure enabled a separation of the production of ethylene from the effect of ethylene. Ethylene was required in tomato petioles to produce the epinastic response and auxin was found to be active in producing epinasty through a stimulation of ethylene synthesis with the resulting ethylene being responsible for the epinasty. In the same manner, it was shown that gibberellic acid stimulated ethylene synthesis in lettuce seeds. The ethylene produced then in turn stimulated the seeds to germinate. It was hypothesized that ethylene was the intermediate which caused epinasty or seed germination. Auxin and gibberellin primarily induced their response by stimulating ethylene production.


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