Touch Response in Plants An Osmotic Event

The highly specialized leaves of the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) rapidly fold together in response to a light touch by an unsuspecting insect, entrapping the insect for later digestion. Attracted by nectar on the leaf surface, the insect touches three mechanically sensitive hairs, triggering the traplike closing of the leaf (Fig. 1). This leaf movement is produced by sudden (within 0.5 s) changes of turgor pressure in mesophyll cells (the inner cells of the leaf), probably achieved by the release of K+ ions from the cells and the resulting efflux, by osmosis, of water. Digestive glands in the leaf's surface release enzymes that extract nutrients from the insect.

The sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica) also undergoes a remarkable change in leaf shape triggered by mechanical touch (Fig. 2). A light touch or vibration produces a sudden drooping of the leaves, the result of a dramatic reduction in turgor pressure in cells at the base of each leaflet and leaf. As in the Venus flytrap, the drop in turgor pressure results from K+ release followed by the efflux of water.

FIGURE 2 The feathery leaflets of the sensitive plant (a) close and drop (b) to protect the plant from structural damage by wind.

FIGURE 2 The feathery leaflets of the sensitive plant (a) close and drop (b) to protect the plant from structural damage by wind.

How To Bolster Your Immune System

How To Bolster Your Immune System

All Natural Immune Boosters Proven To Fight Infection, Disease And More. Discover A Natural, Safe Effective Way To Boost Your Immune System Using Ingredients From Your Kitchen Cupboard. The only common sense, no holds barred guide to hit the market today no gimmicks, no pills, just old fashioned common sense remedies to cure colds, influenza, viral infections and more.

Get My Free Audio Book


Post a comment