Although the Cholodny-Went model of auxin redistribution has been used to explain the transduction phase of gravitropism for over 60 years, problems are apparent, especially with dicot stems. An alternative to an auxin gradient is a physiological gradient in which lower tissues of a horizontal stem become more sensitive than upper tissues to auxin already present. Changes in tissue sensitivity to auxin were tested by immersing marked Glycine max Merrill (soybean) hypocotyl sections in buffered auxin solutions (0, 10(-8) to 10(-2) molar indoleacetic acid) and observing bending and growth of upper and lower surfaces. The two surfaces of horizontal hypocotyl sections responded differently to the same applied auxin stimulus; hypocotyls bent up (lower half grew more) in buffer alone or in low auxin levels, but bent down (upper half grew more) in high auxin. Dose-response curves were evaluated with Michaelis-Menten kinetics, with auxin-receptor binding analogous to enzyme-substrate binding. Vmax for the lower half was usually greater than that for the upper half, which could indicate more binding sites in the lower half. Km of the upper half was always greater than that of the lower half (unmeasurably low), which could indicate that upper-half binding sites had a much lower affinity for auxin than lower-half sites. Dose-response curves were also obtained for sections scrubbed' (cuticle abraded) on top or bottom before immersion in auxin, and gravitropic memory' experiments of L. Brauner and A. Hagar (1958 Planta 51: 115-147) were duplicated. [1-14C]Indoleacetic acid penetration was equal into the two halves, and endogenous plus exogenously supplied (not radiolabeled) free auxin in the two halves (by gas chromatography-selected ion monitoring-mass spectrometry) was also equal. Thus, differential growth occurred without free auxin redistribution, contrary to Cholodny-Went but in agreement with a sensitivity model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science