Effects of ethylene on secondary xylem formation in Arabidopsis thaliana

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology

Abstract: Ethylene has myriad roles as a plant hormone, ranging from senescence and defending against pathogen attacks to fruit ripening and interactions with other hormones. It has been shown to increase cambial activity in poplar, but the effect on wood formation in Arabidopsis hypocotyl has not previously been studied. The Auxin-Regulated Gene involved in Organ Size (ARGOS), which increases organ size by lengthening the time for cell division, was found to be upregulated by ethylene. We tested the effect of ethylene treatment at 10 and 100 µM ACC on three genotypes of Arabidopsis, Col0 (wild-type), an ARGOS deficient mutant (argos), and ein3-1, an ethylene insensitive mutant. ARGOS expression analysis with qPCR indicated that ACC does induce ARGOS and ARGOS-LIKE (ARL) in the hypocotyl. As seen in poplar, ethylene also decreases stem elongation.Histochemical staining, showed that ethylene changes the way secondary xylem lignifies, causing gaps in lignification around the outer edge of secondary xylem. Our results also implied that ethylene treatment changes the proportion of secondary to total xylem, resulting in less secondary, whereas in poplar, ethylene treatment caused an increase.  

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