Main content area

Rapid regulation by acid pH of cell wall adjustment and leaf growth in maize plants responding to reversal of water stress

Bogoslavsky, L., Neumann, P.M.
Plant physiology 1998 v.118 no.2 pp. 701-709
Zea mays, seedlings, leaves, cell walls, water stress, acidification, proton pump, ion transport, adenosinetriphosphatase, cell growth, pH, buffers, plant growth substances, vanadium, plasma membrane, phosphates, erythrosine, stress response
The role of acid secretion in regulating short-term changes in growth rate and wall extensibility was investigated in emerging first leaves of intact, water-stressed maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings. A novel approach was used to measure leaf responses to injection of water or solutions containing potential regulators of growth. Both leaf elongation and wall extensibility, as measured with a whole-plant creep extensiometer, increased dramatically within minutes of injecting water, 0.5 mM phosphate, or strong (50 mM) buffer solutions with pH less than or equal to 5.0 into the cell-elongation zone of water-stressed leaves. In contrast, injecting buffer solutions at pH greater than or equal to 5.5 inhibited these fast responses. Solutions containing 0.5 mM orthovanadate or erythrosin B to inhibit wall acidification by plasma membrane H+ -ATPases were also inhibitory. Thus, cell wall extensibility and leaf growth in water-stressed plants remained inhibited, despite the increased availability of (injected) water when accompanying increases in acid-induced wall loosening were prevented. However, growth was stimulated when pH 4.5 buffers were included with the vanadate injections. These findings suggest that increasing the availability of water to expanding cells in water-stressed leaves signals rapid increases in outward proton pumping by plasma membrane H+ -ATPases. Resultant increases in cell wall extensibility participate in the regulation of water uptake, cell expansion, and leaf growth.