Phenotypic plasticity of stem elongation in two ecotypes of Stellaria longipes: The role of ethylene and response to wind

Emery, R.J.N.; Reid, D.M.; Chinnappa, C.C.

Plant Cell and Environment 17(6): 691-700

1994


ISSN/ISBN: 0140-7791
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.1994.tb00161.x
Accession: 009185623

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Abstract
Using two ecotypes of Stellaria longipes, an alpine form with low plasticity and a prairie form with high plasticity, we investigated whether ethylene was involved in the response to wind stress and might be important in controlling plasticity of stem elongation. Stem growth inhibition was positively correlated with concentration of ethephon application and elevation in ambient ethylene in alpine ecotypes, whereas stem growth in prairie plants was stimulated by low ethephon concentrations. When treated with high AVG, the effects were reversed: alpine plant growth was promoted and prairie plant growth was inhibited. Prairie plants exhibited a daily rhythm in ethylene evolution which increased and peaked at 1500h, and which was absent in alpine plants. Ethylene evolution did not change significantly during the first 2 weeks of growth in alpine plants, whereas ethylene in prairie plants increased significantly during periods of rapid stem elongation. Wind treatment inhibited growth in both ecotypes, but only alpine plants showed a recovery of growth to control levels when wind stressed plants were pretreated with STS. In addition, only alpine plants showed an increase in ethylene evolution in response to wind simulation, whereas prairie plant ethylene evolution did not deviate from rhythms observed in unstressed plants. We concluded that ethylene dwarfs stems in alpine S. longipes in response to wind stress. However, low levels of ethylene may stimulate growth in prairie ecotypes and act independently of wind stress intensity. The contrasting ability to synthesize and respond to ethylene can account for part of the difference in plasticity documented between the two ecotypes.

Phenotypic plasticity of stem elongation in two ecotypes of Stellaria longipes: The role of ethylene and response to wind