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Auxins have a lot of functions in plant growth and development. Auxin is the
only plant growth hormone known to be transported polarly. Because the shoot apex
serves as the primary source of auxin for the entire plant, polar transport has been
believed to be the principal cause of an auxin gradient extending from the shoot tip to
the root tip. The longitudinal gradient of auxin from the shoot to the root affects
various developmental processes, including stem elongation, apical dominance,
wound healing, and leaf senescence. The steady supply of auxin arriving on the sub-
apical region of the stem or coleoptile is required for the continued elongation of these
In higher plants, the growing apical bud inhibits the growth of auxiliary buds-
a phenomenon called apical dominance. Removal of the shoot apex usually results in
the growth of one or more of the auxillary buds. After the discovery of auxin, it was
found that IAA could substitute for the apical bud in maintaining the inhibition of
auxillary buds bean plants.
Auxin suppresses the growth of axillary buds in bean plants. The axillary buds are
suppressed in the intact plant because of apical dominance. Removal of the terminal
bud releases the axillary buds from apical dominance. Applying IAA in lanolin paste
to the cut surface prevents the outgrowth of the axillary buds. Lanolin is applied to
avoid infections on the wound sites.
In this laboratory practical, we also deal with gibberelic acid (GA). The
classical definition of a gibberellin is a compound that stimulates stem elongation.
Furthermore, it is known that the stem-elongation response comes about mostly by
cell enlargement and not by cell division. Applied gibberellin promotes intermodal
elongation. Exogenous GA
causes stem elongation in dwarf plants.
Gibberellins increases both cell elongation and cell division, as evidenced by
increases in cell length and cell number in response to applications of gibberellin.
Internodes of tall pea plants have more cells than those dwarf plants, and the cells are
longer. Mitosis increases markedly in the subapical region of the meristem. The
dramatic stimulation of internode elongation is due to increased cell division activity
in the intercalary meristem.
The first cytokinin to be discovered was the synthetic analog kinetin. Kinetin
is not a naturally occurring plant growth regulator, it does not occur as a base in the
DNA of any species. It is a by-product of the heat-induced degradation of DNA, in
which the deoxyribose sugar of adenosine is converted to a furfuryl ring and shifted
from the 9
position to the 6
position on the adenine ring.
The discovery of kinetin suggested that naturally occurring molecules with
structures similar to that of kinetin regulate cell division activity within the plant.
Kinetin functions as an essential growth hormone, which can influence cell growth
and differentiation. It can delay and offset aging characteristics such as cell growth
rate and size. Kinetin induces cell division in callus cell in the presence of an auxin;
promote bud or root formation from callus cultures when in the appropriate molar
ratios to auxin; delay senescence of leaves. No kinetin-induced cell division occurs
without auxin in the culture medium.