During gravitropism, the accumulation of auxin in the lower side of the stem causes increased growth and the subsequent curvature, while the gaseous hormone ethylene plays a modulating role in regulating the kinetics of growth asymmetries. Light also contributes to the control of gravitropic curvature, potentially through its interaction with ethylene biosynthesis. In this study, red-light pulse treatment of etiolated pea epicotyls was evaluated for its effect on ethylene biosynthesis during gravitropic curvature. Ethylene biosynthesis analysis included measurements of ethylene; the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC); malonyl-conjugated ACC (MACC); and expression levels of pea ACC oxidase (Ps-ACO1) and ACC synthase (Ps-ACS1, Ps-ACS2) genes by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis. Red-pulsed seedlings were given a 6 min pulse of 11 μ mol m−2s−1 red-light 15 h prior to horizontal reorientation for consistency with the timeline of red-light inhibition of ethylene production. Red-pulse treatment significantly reduced ethylene production and MACC levels in epicotyl tissue. However, there was no effect of red-pulse treatment on ACC level, or expression of ACS or ACO genes. During gravitropic curvature, ethylene production increased from 60 to 120 min after horizontal placement in both control and red-pulsed epicotyls. In red-pulsed tissues, ACC levels increased by 120 min after horizontal reorientation, accompanied by decreased MACC levels in the lower portion of the epicotyl. Overall, our results demonstrate that ethylene production in etiolated epicotyls increases after the initiation of curvature. This ethylene increase may inhibit cell growth in the lower portion of the epicotyl and contribute to tip straightening and reduced overall curvature observed after the initial 60 min of curvature in etiolated pea epicotyls.
Steed CL, Taylor LK, Harrison MA. Red light regulation of ethylene biosynthesis and gravitropism in etiolated pea stems. Plant Growth Regulation. 2004;43(2):117-25.