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New Phytol. 2012 Jan;193(2):339-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03920.x. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Ethylene-induced differential petiole growth in Arabidopsis thaliana involves local microtubule reorientation and cell expansion.

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Plant Ecophysiology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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  • New Phytol. 2012 Mar;193(4):1098.


• Hyponastic growth is an upward petiole movement induced by plants in response to various external stimuli. It is caused by unequal growth rates between adaxial and abaxial sides of the petiole, which bring rosette leaves to a more vertical position. The volatile hormone ethylene is a key regulator inducing hyponasty in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we studied whether ethylene-mediated hyponasty occurs through local stimulation of cell expansion and whether this involves the reorientation of cortical microtubules (CMTs). • To study cell size differences between the two sides of a petiole in ethylene and control conditions, we analyzed epidermal imprints. We studied the involvement of CMT orientation in epidermal cells using the tubulin marker line as well as genetic and pharmacological means of CMT manipulation. • Our results demonstrate that ethylene induces cell expansion at the abaxial side of the- petiole and that this can account for the observed differential growth. At the abaxial side, ethylene induces CMT reorientation from longitudinal to transverse, whereas, at the adaxial side, it has an opposite effect. The inhibition of CMTs disturbed ethylene-induced hyponastic growth. • This work provides evidence that ethylene stimulates cell expansion in a tissue-specific manner and that it is associated with tissue-specific changes in the arrangement of CMTs along the petiole.

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