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Apical wilting and petiole xylem vessel diameter of the rms2 branching mutant of pea are shoot controlled and independent of a long-distance signal regulating branching.

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Plant and Cell Physiology
Issue number5
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)791-800
<mark>Original language</mark>English


RMS2 (RAMOSUS2) affects the level or transport of a graft-transmissible signal produced in the shoot and root that controls axillary bud outgrowth in pea (Pisum sativum L.). The shoot apex of rms2 transiently wilts under high evaporative demand. The origin of this phenotype was investigated to determine whether it was involved in the regulation of branching. Wild-type (WT) and rms2 leaves showed a similar stomatal conductance at both low and high evaporative demand in vivo, indicating normal stomatal function. Leaves of both genotypes had similar ABA content and response to ABA. Although root hydraulic conductance (determined by pressure-induced flow) of rms2 plants was normal, more xylem vessels per vascular bundle were identified in cross-sections of fully expanded rms2 petioles compared with those of the WT. However, the diameter of these vessels was nearly half that of the WT. Since the conductance of each vessel is proportional to the fourth power of the vessel radius (according to the Hagen–Poiseulle law), the theoretical (calculated) petiole hydraulic conductance of rms2 was greatly decreased compared with WT plants. Under high evaporative demand, this would cause a temporary imbalance between water supply to, and demand from, rms2 shoots, directly resulting in the wilting phenotype of the mutant. Reciprocal grafting showed that xylem vessel development in rms2 shoots is strictly shoot controlled, probably via elevated auxin levels. This altered xylem vessel development, though causing wilting in rms2 shoot tips, does not appear to affect shoot branching.