Signal transmission during gravitropic curvature of primary roots of Zea mays


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Primary roots of Zea mays cv. Ageotropic are nonresponsive to gravity and elongate approximately 0.80 mm h−1. Applying mucilage‐like material (K‐Y Jelly) to the terminal 1.5 cm of these roots induces graviresponsiveness and slow elongation 28% (i.e. from 0.80 to 0.58mm h−1). Applying mucilage‐like material to one side of the terminal 1.5 cm of the root induces curvature toward the mucilage, irrespective of the root's orientation to gravity. Applying a 2‐mm‐wideband of mucilage‐like material to a root's circumference 8 to 10 mm behind the root cap neither induces gravicurvature nor affects elongation significantly. Similarly, applying mucilage‐like material to only the root cap does not significantly affect elongation or graviresponsiveness. Gravicurvature of mutant roots occurs only when mucilage‐like material is applied to the root/root‐cap junction. Reversing the caps of wild‐type and mutant roots produces gravitropic responses characteristic of the root cap rather than the host root. These results are consistent with the suggestion that gravitropic effectors are growth inhibitors that move apoplastically through mucilage between the root cap and root.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-108
Number of pages4
JournalPlant, Cell & Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


  • Zea mays.
  • apoplast
  • gravitropism (root)
  • mucilage


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