• Functional adaptation and phenotypic plasticity at the cellular and whole plant level

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    • Keywords


      Cellulose synthases; mechanical perturbation; microfibrils; signal perception; thigmomorphogenesis

    • Abstract


      The ability to adaptively alter morphological, anatomical, or physiological functional traits to local environmental variations using external environmental cues is especially well expressed by all terrestrial and most aquatic plants. A ubiquitous cue eliciting these plastic phenotypic responses is mechanical perturbation (MP), which can evoke dramatic differences in the size, shape, or mechanical properties of conspecifics. Current thinking posits that MP is part of a very ancient ``stress-perception response system” that involves receptors located at the cell membrane/cell wall interface capable of responding to a broad spectrum of stress-inducing factors. This hypothesis is explored here from the perspective of cell wall evolution and the control of cell wall architecture by unicellular and multicellular plants. Among the conclusions that emerge from this exploration is the perspective that the plant cell is phenotypically plastic.

    • Author Affiliations


      Karl J Niklas1

      1. Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
    • Dates

  • Journal of Biosciences | News

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      Posted on July 25, 2019

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