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Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 188–200

First Online: 10 May 2007Received: 30 October 2006Accepted: 02 November 2006


Plants phenotypically adjust to environmental challenges, and the gaseous plant hormone ethylene modulates many of these growth adjustments. Ethylene can be involved in environmentally induced growth inhibition as well as growth stimulation. Still, ethylene has long been considered a growth inhibitory hormone. There is, however, accumulating evidence indicating that growth promotion is a common feature in ethylene responses. This is evident in environmental challenges, such as flooding and competition, where the resulting avoidance responses can help plants avoid adversity. To show how ethylene-mediated growth enhancement can facilitate plant performance under adverse conditions, we explored a number of these examples. To escape adversity, plants can optimize growth and thereby tolerate abiotic stresses such as drought, and this response can also involve ethylene. In this article we indicate how opposing effects of ethylene on plant growth can be brought about, by discussing a unifying, biphasic ethylene response model. To understand the mechanistic basis for this multitude of ethylene-mediated growth responses, the involvement of ethylene in processes that control cell expansion is also reviewed.

KeywordsAdversity Cell wall Environment Ethylene Growth Phenotypic plasticity Regulation  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Ronald Pierik - Rashmi Sasidharan - Laurentius A. C. J. Voesenek


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