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Forced calcium entry and polarized growth of Funaria spores

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We have used both steady electric fields, and gradients of the divalent ionophore, A23187, to control the point at which rhizoids emerge from spores of the common moss Funaria hygrometrica. The spores were grown in a medium containing calcium nitrate as the only major salt. Spores tend to form rhizoids towards the positive electrode, with a half maximal response to a difference of 4–8 mV across each cell. They also tend to form rhizoids towards the end of higher ionophore concentration in response to A23187 gradients. Both of these responses are the same at pH 5.5 and 8.0. Our tentative explanation is that Funaria spores tend to form rhizoids where most calcium enters. However, the point of chloronema emergence is scarcely affected by steady fields of up to 45 mV/cell. Moreover, when steady fields are applied across already developed rhizoids or chloronemata, their subsequent growth is directed towards the negative electrode in both cases, with rhizoids giving a 50% response at only 3—5 mV/cell, and chloronemata being less responsive.

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From Tsung-Hsien Chen's Ph.D. thesis, Purdue University

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Chen, T., Jaffe, L.F. Forced calcium entry and polarized growth of Funaria spores. Planta 144, 401–406 (1979).

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Key words

  • A23187 gradients
  • Calcium
  • Germination (moss spores)
  • Electric fields-Funaria
  • Ionophore gradient
  • Moss spores-Polarization
  • Spores (moss)