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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Mar 10;106(10):4048-53. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0804640106. Epub 2009 Feb 20.

Spatiotemporal dynamics of the electrical network activity in the root apex.

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  • 1Department of Horticulture, International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology, University of Florence, Viale delle idee 30, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy.


The study of electrical network systems, integrated with chemical signaling networks, is becoming a common trend in contemporary biology. Classical techniques are limited to the assessment of signals from doublets or triplets of cells at a fixed temporal bin width. At present, full characteristics of the electrical network distribution and dynamics in plant cells and tissues has not been established. Here, a 60-channels multielectrode array (MEA) is applied to study spatiotemporal characteristics of the electrical network activity of the root apex. Both intense spontaneous electrical activities and stimulation-elicited bursts of locally propagating electrical signals have been observed. Propagation of the spikes indicates the existence of excitable traveling waves in plants, similar to those observed in non-nerve electrogenic tissues of animals. Obtained data reveal synchronous electric activities of root cells emerging in a specific root apex region. The dynamic electrochemical activity of root apex cells is proposed to continuously integrate internal and external signaling for developmental adaptations in a changing environment.

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