Aerenchyma formation in the wetland plant Juncus effusus is independent of ethylene

Authors

  • Eric J. W. Visser,

    1. Department of Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED Nijmegen, the Netherlands
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  • Gerard M. Bögemann

    1. Department of Experimental Plant Ecology, Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Radboud University Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED Nijmegen, the Netherlands
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Author for correspondence: E. J. W. Visser Tel: +31 24 3653382 Fax: +31 24 3652888 Email: Eric.Visser@science.ru.nl

Summary

  • • Flooded plant roots commonly form aerenchyma, which allows gas diffusion between shoots and roots. The programmed cell death involved in this induced aerenchyma formation is controlled by the plant hormone ethylene, as has been shown for maize (Zea mays). However, the role of ethylene is uncertain in wetland species that form constitutive aerenchyma (also under nonflooded conditions). The aim of this study is to shed light on the involvement of ethylene in constitutive aerenchyma formation in Juncus effusus.
  • • Plants of J. effusus and maize were treated with ethylene and inhibitors of ethylene action to determine the consequences for aerenchyma formation.
  • • Neither treatment with high ethylene concentrations nor with ethylene inhibitors resulted in changes in root aerenchyma in J. effusus. By contrast, ethylene increased aerenchyma development in maize unless ethylene action inhibitors were applied simultaneously. Similarly, root elongation was insensitive to ethylene treatment in J. effusus, but was affected negatively in maize.
  • • The data show that aerenchyma in J. effusus is highly constitutive and, in contrast to the inducible aerenchyma in maize, is not obviously controlled by ethylene.

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