How Plant Cells Know When to Stop Growing Tips

environment, science
dandelion plants
dandelion plants (Click here for original source image)

A popular scientific finding in recent years has been the study of how plants “know” when to stop growing.

The DNA replication process is triggered by a specific protein, which researchers have found is present in all plants. In fact, the protein is so specific that the dosage required for activating the cell cycle must be very precise-more so than would be done in laboratory experiments, where scientists are able to control variables much more easily. However, despite this power, determining when a plant has reached the maximum possible level of reproduction can be a real challenge.

It turns out, according to a paper just published in the journal Science, that plants can “remember” a set of factors which they must use in order to trigger a complete DNA replication cycle. Specifically, they suggest, a plant might require the correct temperature, and light environment as well as water levels in order to trigger the genetic changes that initiate the DNA replication. But plants also have a natural way of preventing DNA replications-in fact, it is their very defense against pathogen attack. And these mechanisms apparently only work to keep them healthy. In other words, they can’t slow down or stop the rate of cell division even if they could.

Interestingly, there are two things going on here. The first is a temperature issue-not only does a plant need a temperature which it can tolerate to keep growing, but it also requires the right temperature in order to trigger its DNA cell cycle. The other thing is a cellular size issue-here, too, plants appear to have a way of determining the maximal population size they can support, though they aren’t perfectly clear how. For instance, some species can grow much larger than others-but they all share a set of common characteristics which allow them to do so. The study of these common features is emerging as a great area of future research, though for now, we can say that plants use temperature regulation just like animals.

Temperature is one of the things that determines cell size-and this is why plants have such a difficult time with DNA replication. As mentioned above, they have a requirement for a certain temperature range in order to trigger their cell cycle. However, just what that temperature range is remains a mystery.

Well, one thing that scientists do know is that the best temperature for triggering the cell size regulation is somewhere around 55 degrees Celsius. But even at that, there’s no guarantee that the developing baby gonocytes will be fine-even when it’s around one hundred twenty degrees Celsius. If you want to make sure that the new daughter cells are healthy, then shoot for a higher temperature. But remember, it’s possible that they won’t be in good shape when the next generation shoots off.

So let’s get back to the question; how plant cells know when to stop growing tips. They don’t, obviously, and when they don’t, they stop growing tips. They stop growing tips because a certain set of factors are making them not to grow. It might be temperature, it might be light, it might be micro-organisms or maybe it might be some sort of toxin.

And don’t worry if your growing tip doesn’t start growing when you want it too. Just give it a little longer. It could be just a matter of temperature or just a matter of how you gave it the opportunity. There’s no shame in wanting to see more. But make sure that you give it time before you prune it or else it might just die. Just wait a few days and then it can do it’s thing again.

Now, that you know the answer to the question, how plant cells know when to stop growing tips, let’s talk about why you want to grow what you do. Don’t you just want to see all of those beautiful flowers and plants blooming for you? So go ahead, give them what you have to offer.

Provided by Antonio Westley


Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.

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