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Role of cell-wall biogenesis in the initiation of auxin-mediated growth in coleoptiles of Zea mays L.

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The involvement of cell-wall polymer synthesis in auxin-mediated elongation of coleoptile segments from Zea mays L. was investigated with particular regard to the growth-limiting outer epidermis. There was no effect of indole acetic acid (IAA) on the incorporation of labeled glucose into the major polysaccharide wall fractions (cellulose, hemicellulose) within the first 2 h of IAA-induced growth. 2,6-Dichlorobenzonitrile inhibited cellulose synthesis strongly but had no effect on IAA-induced segment elongation even after a pretreatment period of 24 h, indicating that the growth response is independent of the apposition of new cellulose microfibrils at the epidermal cell wall. The incorporation of labeled leucine into total and cell-wall protein of the epidermis was promoted by IAA during the first 30 min of IAA-induced growth. Inhibition of IAA-induced growth by protein and RNA-synthesis inhibitors (cycloheximide, cordycepin) was accompanied by an inhibition of leucine incorporation into the epidermal cell wall during the first 30 min of induced growth but had no effect on the concomitant incorporation of monosaccharide precursors into the cellulose or hemicellulose fractions of this wall. It is concluded that at least one of the epidermal cell-wall proteins fulfills the criteria for a ‘growth-limiting protein’ induced by IAA at the onset of the growth response. In contrast, the synthesis of the polysaccharide wall fractions cellulose and hemicellulose, as well as their transport and integration into the growing epidermal wall, appears to be independent of growth-limiting protein and these processes are therefore no part of the mechanism of growth control by IAA.

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growth-limiting protein(s)


indole-3-acetic acid


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Edelmann, H., Bergfeld, R. & Schonfer, P. Role of cell-wall biogenesis in the initiation of auxin-mediated growth in coleoptiles of Zea mays L.. Planta 179, 486–494 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00397588

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Key words

  • Auxin (coleoptile growth)
  • Cell wall (auxin, grwoth-limiting protein)
  • Protein synthesis (auxin)
  • Zea (coleoptile growth)