The Role of Calcium in the Recall of Stored Morphogenetic Information by Plants
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Flax seedlings grown in the absence of environmental stimuli, stresses and injuries do not form epidermal meristems in their hypocotyls. Such meristems do form when the stimuli are combined with a transient depletion of calcium. These stimuli include the “manipulation stimulus” resulting from transferring the seedlings from germination to growth conditions. If, after a stimulus, calcium depletion is delayed, meristem production is also delayed; in other words, the meristem-production instruction can be memorised. Memorisation includes both storage and recall of information. Here, we focus on information recall. We show that if the first transient calcium depletion is followed by a second transient depletion there is a new round of meristem production. We also show that if an excess of calcium follows calcium depletion, meristem production is blocked; but if the excess of calcium is in turn followed by another calcium depletion, again there is a new round of meristem production. The same stored information can thus be recalled repeatedly (at least twice). We describe a conceptual model that takes into account these findings.