Role of ethylene in the germination of the hemiparasite Striga hermonthica

David Logan, GR Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Seed germination of the hemiparasitic angiosperm Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth is elicited by compounds present in the root exudates of the host plant. Although a variety of compounds can substitute for the host-derived signal, the mechanism through which these act is unknown. In the present study, an inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis, aminoethoxyvinyl glycine, was found to inhibit germination. Addition of an intermediate in ethylene biosynthesis, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, was found to override this inhibition and to act as a substitute for the host-derived signal. 2,5-Norbornadiene, an inhibitor of ethylene action, was also found to inhibit germination. Ethylene is rapidly produced by Striga seeds after treatment with host root exudates. These results are consistent with a model for Striga seed germination in which host-derived signals and other compounds act by eliciting the synthesis of ethylene and in which ethylene itself initiates the biochemical changes leading to germination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1435-1438
Number of pages4
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1991




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