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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 May 7;1064(2):199-204.

The electrical response of maize to auxins.

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  • 1Botanisches Institut I, Justus Liebig-Universit├Ąt Giessen, Germany.


The electrical response of Zea mays coleoptiles and suspension cultured cells to several growth-promoting auxins (IAA, IBA, 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, 1-NAA) and some of their structural analogues (2,3-D, 2-NAA) has been tested. In coleoptile two typical electrical responses to IAA are observed: an immediated rapid depolarization, and a hyperpolarization following 7-10 minutes after the first external addition of IAA. Of the other tested compounds only 1-NAA significantly depolarized the cells, whereas all auxins as well as the analogues evoked delayed hyperpolarizations. In contrast, the suspension cells were not hyperpolarized by any of the tested compounds, but were strongly depolarized by IAA, 1-NAA, and to a lesser extent by 2-NAA. In these cells IAA and 1-NAA induced inwardly directed currents of positive charge which both saturated around 12 mA/m2. The strong pH-dependence together with the half-maximal currents 0.49 microM IAA and 0.76 microM 1-NAA point to a symport of the anions with at least 2H+. The delayed plasma membrane hyperpolarization is a different response, and seems to be initiated by the protonated auxin species. In accordance with the current literature, it is interpreted as consequence of a stimulated proton extrusion. The finding that all tested compounds evoked a hyperpolarization, makes this response unspecific. It is concluded that a stimulation of proton extrusion is a necessary, but not sufficient step to induce elongation growth.

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