Leaf Closure in the Venus Flytrap: An Acid Growth Response

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Science  10 Dec 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4577, pp. 1120-1122
DOI: 10.1126/science.218.4577.1120


The rapid closure of leaves in the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) involves irreversible cell enlargement, which can be initiated by acidifying the cell walls to pH 4.50 and below. Leaves infiltrated with neutral buffers that keep the pH above 4.50 to 4.75 will not close in response to stimulation of their trigger hairs even though the action potentials that ordinarily cause closure are produced. During the 1 to 3 seconds required for closure about 29 percent of the cellular adenosine triphosphate is lost. It is likely that this adenosine triphosphate is used in very rapid transport of hydrogen ions from the motor cells and that the movement is due to a mechanism of "acid growth."

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