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Ethylene binding sites in higher plants

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A review of work carried out on ethylene binding in higher plants is presented. The use of radio-labelled displacement assays has identified specific 14C-ethylene binding in all tissues so far studied. virtually all higher plants studied contain at least two classes of ethylene binding site, one of which fully associates and dissociates in about 2 h and a class of sites that takes up to 20 h to become fully saturated. Although the types of site differ in their rate constants of association they have similar and high affinities for ethylene.

A series of Arabidopsis thaliana mutants shown to vary in sensitivity to ethylene have been analysed for 14C-ethylene binding. One mutant, eti 5, which was shown to be unaffected by ethylene concentrations of up to 10,000 μL L−1 was also shown to exhibit reduced binding.

In vivo and in vitro studies on pea have shown that ethylene binding can be detected in this tissue. In vitro studies have shown that both membrane and cytosolic fractions contain measurable amounts of ethylene binding. Interestingly, cytosolic ethylene binding consisted only of the fast associating/dissociating type.

Developing cotyledons of Phaseolus vulgaris contain a higher concentration of ethylene binding sites that other tissues and only contain the slow dissociating component. These facets have allowed the purification of ethylene binding protein(s) (EBP) from this tissue. The proteins which bind ethylene can be resolved into two bands of 26 and 28 kDa on semi-denaturing PAGE and the proteins appear to be single entities on a 2-D gels.

Data will be presented which indicate a possible role for heterotrimetric G-proteins in the early stages of the ethylene signal transduction pathway.

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Harpham, N.V.J., Berry, A.W., Holland, M.G. et al. Ethylene binding sites in higher plants. Plant Growth Regul 18, 71–77 (1996).

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