Acid growth


Acid growth

Acid growth refers to the ability of plant cells and plant cell walls to elongate or expand quickly at low (acidic) pH. This form of growth does not involve an increase in cell number; it is sometimes called acid-induced stretching, acid expansion, and acid-induced cell wall loosening, [Plant Physiol. 1992 Aug;99(4):1271-4 obtained online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/] or some other similar term. During acid growth plant cells enlarge rapidly because the cell walls are made more extensible by expansin, a pH-dependent wall-loosening protein. Expansin loosens the network-like connections between cellulose microfibrils within cell wall. A typical sequence leading up to this would involve the introduction of a plant hormone (auxin, for example) that causes protons (H+) to be pumped out of the cell into the cell wall. As a result the cell wall solution becomes more acidic (pH is a measure of the concentration of H+). This activates expansin activity, causing the wall to become more extensible and to undergo wall stress relaxation. This enables the cell to take up water and to expand.

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