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Autonomic straightening after gravitropic curvature of cress roots

Stankovic, B., Volkmann, D., Sack, F.D.
Plant physiology 1998 v.117 no.3 pp. 893-900
Lepidium sativum, roots, gravity, gravitropism, measurement, developmental stages, plant morphology
Few studies have documented the response of gravitropically curved organs to a withdrawal of a constant gravitational stimulus. The effects of stimulus withdrawal on gravitropic curvature were studied by following individual roots of cress (Lepidium sativum L.) through reorientation and clinostat rotation. Roots turned to the horizontal curved down 62 degrees and 88 degrees after 1 and 5 h, respectively. Subsequent rotation on a clinostat for 6 h resulted in root straightening through a loss of gravitropic curvature in older regions and through new growth becoming aligned closer to the prestimulus vertical. However, these roots did not return completely to the prestimulus vertical, indicating the retention of some gravitropic response. Clinostat rotation shifted the mean root angle -36 degrees closer to the prestimulus vertical, regardless of the duration of prior horizontal stimulation. Control roots (no horizontal stimulation) were slanted at various angles after clinostat rotation. These findings indicate that gravitropic curvature is not necessarily permanent, and that the root retains some commitment to its equilibrium orientation prior to gravitropic stimulation.