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Plant Cell Environ. 2007 Mar;30(3):249-257. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2006.01614.x.

Electrical signals and their physiological significance in plants.

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Fachgebiet Holzbiologie, TU München, Winzererstrasse 45, 80797 München, Germany.


Electrical excitability and signalling, frequently associated with rapid responses to environmental stimuli, are well known in some algae and higher plants. The presence of electrical signals, such as action potentials (AP), in both animal and plant cells suggested that plant cells, too, make use of ion channels to transmit information over long distances. In the light of rapid progress in plant biology during the past decade, the assumption that electrical signals do not only trigger rapid leaf movements in 'sensitive' plants such as Mimosa pudica or Dionaea muscipula, but also physiological processes in ordinary plants proved to be correct. Summarizing recent progress in the field of electrical signalling in plants, the present review will focus on the generation and propagation of various electrical signals, their ways of transmission within the plant body and various physiological effects.

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