Studies of the mechanism of action of fusicoccin, the fungal toxin that induces wilting, and its interaction with abscisic acid.

Research paper by G R GR Squire, T A TA Mansfield

Indexed on: 01 Mar '72Published on: 01 Mar '72Published in: Planta


Effects of fusicoccin alone and together with abscisic acid were observed on the stomatal complex of Commelina communis. The experimental material consisted of isolated epidermal strips incubated in a medium containing the ions required for stomatal opening. Fusicoccin stimulated opening and this was accompanied by potassium entry into the guard cells, and hydrolysis of the starch in their chloroplasts. Abscisic acid alone inhibited potassium entry and starch hydrolysis, but these effects could be almost entirely overcome by fusicoccin.Attempts were made to measure the solute potential of the guard cells under the various treatments. Abscisic acid clearly increased their solute potential, but no absolute measurements could be made in the presence of fusicoccin owing to a failure of plasmolysis even with mannitol solutions of solute potential as low as -35 bars. Experiments using isotopically labelled mannitol indicated a massive uptake into the epidermis in the presence of fusicoccin.The mechanism of stimulation of stomatal opening by fusicoccin probably depends in part on a stimulation of the normal processes associated with opening in the guard cells, but may also involve release of pressure due to destruction of the surrounding cells. The effectiveness of this toxin under natural conditions may depend on its ability to counteract effects of abscisic acid, the stress hormone that induces stomatal closure.