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Plant Physiol. 2007 Feb;143(2):1013-23. Epub 2006 Dec 8.

Abscisic acid antagonizes ethylene-induced hyponastic growth in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Plant Ecophysiology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, 3584 CA, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Ethylene induces enhanced differential growth in petioles of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), resulting in an upward movement of the leaf blades (hyponastic growth). The amplitude of this effect differs between accessions, with Columbia-0 (Col-0) showing a large response, while in Landsberg erecta (Ler), hyponastic growth is minimal. Abscisic acid (ABA) was found to act as an inhibitory factor of this response in both accessions, but the relationship between ethylene and ABA differed between the two; the ability of ABA to inhibit ethylene-induced hyponasty was significantly more pronounced in Col-0. Mutations in ABI1 or ABI3 induced a strong ethylene-regulated hyponastic growth in the less responsive accession Ler, while the response was abolished in the ABA-hypersensitive era1 in Col-0. Modifications in ABA levels altered petiole angles in the absence of applied ethylene, indicating that ABA influences petiole angles also independently from ethylene. A model is proposed whereby the negative effect of ABA on hyponastic growth is overcome by ethylene in Col-0 but not in Ler. However, when ABA signaling is artificially released in Ler, this regulatory mechanism is bypassed, resulting in a strong hyponastic response in this accession.

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