A pleiotropic Arabidopsis thaliana mutant with inverted root chirality

Planta. 1997;202(2):196-205. doi: 10.1007/s004250050119.


Circumnutation is an oscillating movement of a growing plant organ that is believed to result from an endogenous rhythmic process intrinsic to growth. Circumnutating organs, as they extend, describe a helical trace. In Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. circumnutation is particularly evident in primary roots and occurs, as in most plants, in a right-handed direction when viewed from above in the direction of the growing tips. We have discovered a pleiotropic mutant of Arabidopsis with left-handed root circumnutation. Major abnormalities of the mutant are: (i) a reduced size of all organs, mainly due to a defect in cell elongation or expansion; (ii) a zigzagging pattern of stem pith cells, reminiscent of the "erectoides" phenotype of the lk mutant of Pisum; (iii) roots of the mutant are gravitropic but as they grow, they form tight, left-handed coils. Genetically, the mutant depends on the presence of two independent monogenic recessive factors acting additively. The mutant alleles of both factors alter the growth of the aerial organs in a similar manner but differ at the root level: one mainly produces non-circumnutating roots, the other changes the direction of circumnutation from right to left hand.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Glycosides / pharmacology
  • Light
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Plant Roots / drug effects
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*


  • Glycosides
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • fusicoccin