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8.

2- PLANTS RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CUES


Plants like all living things detect and respond to stimuli (changes in their environment), adapting their growth & development to ensure their survival and reproductive success.

LIGHT -

Most Important environmental cue for plants as it influences many events in their growth and development

Plants use PHOTORECEPTORS to detect the quantity, direction & wavelength of light. There are several families of photoreceptors in plants; one of which is PHYTOCHROMES. Phytochromes consist of a protein component bonded to a non-protein which is the light absorbing molecule. There have been 5 different Phytochromes identified (all differ in protein present). The Non-protein exists in the form of 2 isomers: P r - PHYTOCHROME RED LIGHT (660nm) Pfr PHYTOCHROME FAR-RED LIGHT (730um) Both isomers are photoreversible.

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When there is absorption of red-light the P r convert to Pfr. & when far-red light is absorbed the Pfr converts back to P r. Although Plants synthesis Phytochromes in the P r form, in sunlight this converts to Pfr as more red light than far-red light is absorbed therefore in light Pfr is being accumulated. However in dark the Pfr slowly converts back into P r. The diagram below indicates this

PHOTOPERIODISM NIGHTS:

The environmental cue that determines flowering in terms of day length

Long winter nights: has enough time for Pfr to convert back

into P r so by sunrise all Phytochromes will be in the P r form. Summer nights: not long enough for all Pfr to convert back into P r so by morning some Pfr may still be present. Critical Value: is the period of uninterrupted darkness which is typically 12hrs DAYS: Long-Day Plants: flower when day length exceeds critical value so plants have <12hrs of uninterrupted darkness. This means that Pfr is still present so in L-D Plants Pfr is needed to stimulate flowering. Short-Day Plants: flowers when day length is less than critical value so plants need >12hrs of uninterrupted darkness. So Pfr present in these plants can inhibit flowering.

Long-Day Plants

Short-day Plants

Day length

Less than Critical Value (<12hrs) Stimulates flowering

Exceeds Critical Value(>12hrs) Inhibits flowering

Pfr

Examples:

Strawberry, poppies, Chrysanthemum, oats & lettuce etc. Poinsettias & coffee etc.

Phytochromes also regulates a wind range of responses such as: Seed germination Stem elongation Leaf expansion Chlorophyll formation flowering Greening: is the profound changes in biochemistry and form of a plant once shoot has broken through soil into sunlight. Once greening has begun Phytochromes help promote: Development of primary leaves Leaf rolling Production of pigments Phytochromes can also inhibit certain processes such as elongation of internodes.

HOW PHYTOCHROMES SWITCHES PROCESSES ON & OFF


EXPOSURE TO LIGHT
CAUSES PHYTOCHROMES MOLECULES TO CHANGE FROM 1 ISOMER TO THE OTHER WHICH BRINGS ABOUT CHANGE IN SHAPE EACH ACTIVATED PHYTOCHROME THEN INTERACTS WITH OTHER PROTEINS

TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS THEN BIND TO DNA TO ALLOW TRANSCRIPTION OF LIGHT REGULATED GENES

THESE PROTEIN BECOME SIGNAL PROTEIN WHICH MAY ACT AS TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS OR ACTIVATE TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS

MAY BIND TO PROTEIN OR DISRUPT THE BINDING OF A PROTEIN COMPLEX

TRANSCRIPTION & TRANSLATION PRODUCES PROTEIN THAT RESULTS IN THE PLANTS RESPONSE TO LIGHT

OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL CUES


Gravity: as light can not be cue for the shoots to grow upwards and roots to grow downwards. It is gravity that acts as a stimulus the response to which ensures that developing shoots reach the light while roots grow in soil. Touch & Mechanical Stress: some plants are sensitive to this. & it has been found that rubbing the stem of a plant results in a shorter stem than in control. This is because mechanical stimulus activates signal molecules whose end result is the activation of genes that control growth. The photograph on the side shows how some plants have leaves that have rapid response to mechanical stimulation so when touched fold rapidly (eventually collapse). This is because when touched specialised cells lose K+ ions and then water so cell becomes flaccid meaning it can no longer support leaf and keep it upright.