Auxin (cell polarity)
Electric currents (measurement)
Nicotiana (cell polarity)
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract A simple, inexpensive, and stable drive-unit for a vibrating probe is described. It was used to measure transcellular electrical currents and their stability in cells from suspension cultures of Nicotiana tabacum L. var. virginica. The cells were highly variable in size, morphology and current-pattern. The magnitude and pattern of the currents depended on the age of the culture, the morphology of the cells and the auxin in the culture medium. Currents in small cell clusters were weakest during the lag-phase of growth and strongest when the cultures were actively growing. The shape of the cells was related to the electrical pattern surrounding them, electrically polar cells tending to be elongated. The proportion of polar cells depended on the auxin composition of the culture medium. About 75% of the cells from suspensions grown in the presence of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) were electrically polar. These cells normally divided at right angles to their electrical axes to form filaments. Only around 20% of the cells grown in medium containing 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) were electrically polar, the remainder had randomly oriented currents and divided in random directions to form irregular clusters rather than filaments. The electrical patterns of cells in 2,4-D were much less stable than those of cells in IAA. When currents were measured repeatedly at fixed locations on cells, those in 2,4-D were about twice as likely to disappear, arise de novo, or change direction as those in IAA. When cells were transferred from 2,4-D to IAA media, the percentage of polar cells increased from 25 to 40 within 1 d, but when they were transferred from IAA to 2,4-D, this percentage decreased from 48 to 26. It is suggested that one of the reasons that 2,4-D suppresses organogenesis in tobacco cultures (and possibly why it also functions as a herbicide) is that it reduces the stability of transcellular currents and disrupts the electrical patterns of cells so that they become less capable of organized polar growth.
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