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Gibberellins are growth hormones known to stimulate cell elongation and influence various developmental processes like stem elongation, seed germination, dormancy, flowering, sex expression, enzyme induction, and leaf and fruit senescence. Japanese scientists observed a common disease leading to excessive growth of rice plants. Eiichi Kurosawa (1926) investigated this bakanae (foolish seedling) disease in rice and found that tallness of diseased rice plants was induced by a chemical secreted by the fungus that had infected the plants. This chemical was isolated from the filtrates of the cultured fungus and was called gibberellin, after Gibberella fujikuroi (now renamed as Fusarium fujikuroi), the said fungus infecting rice plants. Kurosawa also noted that this active factor could promote the growth of maize, sesame, millet, and oat seedlings. In 1935, Yabuta and Hayashi successfully crystallized the fungal growth-inducing factor called gibberellin from the fungus Gibberella fujikuroi. All gibberellins are technically diterpene acids. They are either 19 or 20 carbon structures. A number of gibberellins are found in plants, of which only few are biologically active as hormones. The 19-carbon forms are, in general, biologically active gibberellins. Three most common biologically active gibberellins are GA1, GA3, and GA4. All other GAs serve either as active GAs or their degradation products (Fig. 17.1). In view of their acidic nature, gibberellins are also referred as gibberellic acids (GAs). GAs are named GA1 through GAn in order of discovery, and GA3 was the first GA to be structurally characterized. So far, 126 GAs have been identified in plants, fungi, and bacteria.
KeywordsBolting DELLA proteins MγB transcription factors Seed germination
Suggested Further Reading
- Gao X, Zhang Y, He Z, Fu X (2017) Gibberellins. In: Li J, Li C, Smith SM (eds) Hormone metabolism and signaling in plants. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 39–76Google Scholar