Morphing structures and signal transduction in Mimosa pudica L. induced by localized thermal stress

J Plant Physiol. 2013 Oct 15;170(15):1317-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2013.05.003. Epub 2013 Jun 6.


Leaf movements in Mimosa pudica, are in response to thermal stress, touch, and light or darkness, appear to be regulated by electrical, hydrodynamical, and chemical signal transduction. The pulvinus of the M. pudica shows elastic properties. We have found that the movements of the petiole, or pinnules, are accompanied by a change of the pulvinus morphing structures. After brief flaming of a pinna, the volume of the lower part of the pulvinus decreases and the volume of the upper part increases due to the redistribution of electrolytes between these parts of the pulvinus; as a result of these changes the petiole falls. During the relaxation of the petiole, the process goes in the opposite direction. Ion and water channel blockers, uncouplers as well as anesthetic agents diethyl ether or chloroform decrease the speed of alert wave propagation along the plant. Brief flaming of a pinna induces bidirectional propagation of electrical signal in pulvini. Transduction of electrical signals along a pulvinus induces generation of an action potential in perpendicular direction between extensor and flexor sides of a pulvinus. Inhibition of signal transduction and mechanical responses in M. pudica by volatile anesthetic agents chloroform or by blockers of voltage gated ion channels shows that the generation and propagation of electrical signals is a primary effect responsible for turgor change and propagation of an excitation. There is an electrical coupling in a pulvinus similar to the electrical synapse in the animal nerves.

Keywords: 2,4-dinitrophenol; 9-anthracenecarboxylic acid; A-9-C; CCCP; DNP; Electrophysiology; Localized thermal stress; Mimosa pudica; PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation; PXI; Phloem; Pulvinus; Signal transduction; TEACl; U; carbonylcyanide-3-chlorophenylhydrazone; t; tetraethylammonium chloride; time; voltage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Hot Temperature
  • Mimosa / physiology*
  • Plant Leaves / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*