The role of nitric oxide and hemoglobin in plant development and morphogenesis



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Plant morphogenesis is regulated endogenously through phytohormones and other chemical signals, which may act either locally or distant from their place of synthesis. Nitric oxide (NO) is formed by a number of controlled processes in plant cells. It is a central signaling molecule with several effects on control of plant growth and development, such as shoot and root architecture. All plants are able to express non-symbiotic hemoglobins at low concentration. Their function is generally not related to oxygen transport or storage; instead they effectively oxidize NO to NO3 and thereby control the local cellular NO concentration. In this review, we analyze available data on the role of NO and plant hemoglobins in morphogenetic processes in plants. The comparison of the data suggests that hemoglobin gene expression in plants modulates development and morphogenesis of organs, such as roots and shoots, through the localized control of NO, and that hemoglobin gene expression should always be considered a modulating factor in processes controlled directly or indirectly by NO in plants.